Just to Set Things Straight


Pink leaves falling off grey trees
A watch that announces the time rather than shows it
Having a fresh banana in your carry on
Eating a mudpie whilst unicycling across Times Square


Calling twice in an hour
Taking a taxi instead of a bus when there’s still time just so you can impress
Colouring your drawing when the teacher said at least black and white
Making someone’s day just in case their day isn’t already made


Having no resume to show
Eating a burrito with a fork
Having a rickety shower head
A boat that has bullet holes in it


Taking a taxi instead of a bus when you know you might be late
Eating a burrito with a fork
Plugging the holes on a sinking ship
Calling to make sure they are safe


The doctors face when he walks out of the operating theatre
The hangman as he measures the thickness of the noose
A gifted child in a first grade maths class
When she tells you ‘we need to talk’


Making someone’s day just in case their day isn’t already made
Plugging the holes in a sinking ship
Calling to make sure they are safe
When the tide turns but you don’t.


I Had High Hopes But

Find yourself,
They say.
But you can’t. But
Yet they say
Find yourself.

And so you try. In
The darkness amidst flashing lights.
In the time you find between two paragraphs of an assignment
You dread
In the gaps between
Awkward conversation
In the spaces between your teeth where tongues cannot fit
Where decency tries to find a way but stops short
Of anything substantial. Of anything yet

You find yourself
You know you didn’t want this.
You know
You didn’t want any of this.
But yet you’re yearning
And your morals crunch against the gravel
The imaginary asphalt
The friendly stones
That are actually stares.
But they don’t seem so friendly to you.

And you yearn but you don’t ever get and
You fight but you don’t ever win
You behave but no one commends you.
And what does this tell you?

But that you are nothing more than
A little too insignificant for the world
To even notice,
To even take your feelings into account
When there’s nothing left inside
To express

And so you yearn but as it appears
Yearning is too insubstantial anyway
To feed the pain
That is your soul.


My #1 Fear

What am I
but a mere observer,
the channel that carries thought
a vessel that exists but does not participate,
that conveys but does not meddle,
that thinks but does not do.
What am I,
but a lowly coward
that will only realise that the things
that mean the most to me,
only do when it’s
too late?
That is
my number one fear,
and I’m getting closer to it
with every

4 AM

4 AM is where I hide
In the downcast lyrics of a forgettable ballad
In the faded blinds that barely keep out the light
Illuminates when the sun makes another visit
Here I lie
So lost in the errors of self that one is no longer aware
Of the origins of this singular emotion
The fan that rotates above
The despondence that had taken more than it will ever give
And now it gives in small amounts
In subtle variations
It gives but in versions I cannot understand
It finally breaks the surface in the lines that I bleed.


Death of a Child

“Dad, there’s nothing under the bed”
I’d tell him as he towered over me with hands
Raised above his head, imitating something that
Doesn’t exist.

I’d take off my 3D glasses halfway through
The movie. I tell my friends there is nothing
Fascinating. It is what is known as an
Optical illusion


After studying I walk past the Novena underpass.
I ignore the uncle singing a Christian tune
For I think he has enough and in fact
More than enough

“There’s a shortcut through that bright alley,
Dear,” I’d tell her, as we avoid our usual route
Through the dimly lit park, alive with the crickets’
Noisy chirps


We won’t be meeting, I text her a few months
Later, that a text is all we need. I can see
She is upset but I know for sure a breakup text
Seals the deal

“Forget about the taste” my friends will tell me
“Whisky is only good when chugged” and so
I listen. As glass after glass goes down, I start
Seeing the stars.