Categories
Poetry

Twenty-six sentences on turning 26

Today, I reach my 26-year breathing streak. Approaching another year closer to my last breath, I recount the past year in search of pride. What do I find? There are the advertisements I wrote, which appeared in the country’s most widely read newspapers. Let us just not name them, nor elaborate on how banal the copy. For a travel magazine, I wrote about amazing destinations across the globe without ever boarding a plane, or even leaving my chair. This was the year I got to say, “I am a copywriter.” Hurrah, I have acquired another label that tastes foul on my tongue and is deafeningly dull to my ears. But I guess it counts as a survival skill in this world of consume, consume, consume. (Not that I’ve found anyone who will pay me to help the world gorge itself to death.) Fortunately, I have made honest coin serving drinks to patrons of the performing arts. Although the pay is little, the reward is great.

Let work not dictate the terms of achievement, however, for the real pride lies in what is given freely without hesitation. I have volunteered my time liberally to others and have only regretted time I squandered whilst alone. This year, I wrote letters to family and friends, and I penned a tale that only I and one other would understand. I witnessed an exchange of vows, the engagement of two I hold dear, stood beside my pals who graduated, celebrated a new boy soon to enter the world, and I danced until every inch of my body ached for days. And this year, I committed my days to the page, memories etched in black ink. Every penstroke carries the hope that there will be more. It was a year where self-affirmation stood equal to self-deprecation. The mirror man and I are not yet friends, but he has mellowed and eased up on his cruelty. And though my chronic singledom persists, I am fortunate to surround myself with loving friends. It is a privilege to be a side character in the extraordinary stories of the most extraordinary of people.

Sixteen-year-old me had set some strict goals for my 26-year-old self. And I had vowed that if I were unsuccessful, I would immigrate to the land of the unliving. If I were to honour my younger self, you would be reading my final words. You can rest assured that you haven’t heard the last from me.

Categories
Poetry

Poem from Google search results: “suggestions for tories”

Poem titled "suggestions for tories" where google's suggested searches are marked by bold text.

Back in December, I read Brian Bilston’s Christmas poem he created from auto-completed Google search suggestions. I thought I’d try and make a poem via the same method but about the Tories instead.

Categories
Poetry

November poems (2021)

Poem titled Falling for Fire written on an old parchment background with a shaded outline of a flame beside the stanzas.

Falling for Fire

When I fell for the fire,
I knew I’d get burned.
A desire destined for ash
or a scar if it spurned.
So I settled for sitting beside it,
a mere shadow in its glow.
I’ll confess to the embers
so that the flames never know.
But another came for the warmth.
All turned to smoke, and l went cold.
Snatched my light and left me cinders,
now they have the fire I was afraid to hold.
Categories
Poetry

The Terrorgraph

Happy Halloween! Here’s a poem I wrote about the pedlars of terrors whose daily horror stories are written to make us fear the oppressed and worship the oppressors:

Categories
Poetry

Birthday Blues

Graphic of the poem on an old parchment background and a faded illustration of a birthday cake.

I turned 25 the other day, so I wanted to try and write a poem consisting of 25 lines that summarised how I feel about turning a quarter-of-a-century. This is what I wrote.

Categories
Poetry

Monsters in the Closet

The poem as posted on Instagram. On the left are the poem's words. On the right is a sketch of a man and woman afraid of a monster's face.
We all have monsters in the closet
We all fear what’s under the bed
But we should not hide our battle scars
Or give them all the spaces in our head
Our monsters are not the same
Yours might be tougher, larger, hairier
If I were to hang my monsters beside yours
They would envy how yours are scarier
Our pain and wounds are different
We’ve both been cut but not equally deep
My monsters only get me when I’m awake
Yours even terrorise you in your sleep
But if you’re willing to brave my monsters
And love me despite their fangs and claws
Take my hand and open the closet doors
Because I’m more than ready to face yours
Categories
Poetry

Escapril 2021 – Day 23: Clock

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

Today’s prompt is clock.”

Time has always been a problem for me. There have never been enough hours in the day. I rediscovered a barely used journal from 2012, and across several pages I’m lamenting my struggle with taming time. Little did 15-year-old me realise time would only become even more elusive without deadlines and structure.

But I didn’t want to write a poem about “wasted” hours. For starters, you waste more hours by lamenting lost time, so it’s counter-productive. That’s what I try and remind myself when those guilty feelings about unproductivity try to bring me down.

Categories
Poetry

Escapril 2021 – Day 18: Nightmare

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

The prompt today is nightmare.” Immediately, my mind went to the worst nightmare I’ve ever had. I had the nightmare when I was eight. I’ve had many nightmares since, but none have succeeded in terrifying me as much as Samara.

See, when I was eight, my mum decided to let me watch The Ring (2002). For those who don’t know, the movie is an American remake of Hideo Nakata’s Japanese film Ring (1998), which is itself an adaptation Koji Suzuki’s 1991 novel of the same name. The plot concerns a cursed videotape, whereby anyone who watches the tape will receive a phone call telling them they have seven days left to live. Once the seven days are up, Samara – or Sadako Yamamura in the original novel and Japanese adaptation – climbs out of your TV and kills you.

Categories
Poetry

Escapril 2021 – Day 7: Naked

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.

The prompt today is naked.” I knew I wanted to write about vulnerability. It’s something I’ve been thinking a lot about in recent years, and it’s still something I’m learning how to do.

The angle I decided to take with the poem was inspired by Tim Kreider’s excellent Medium article “I Am a Meme Now.” Specifically, this quote:

[It’s] scary putting yourself out there, letting yourself be seen, vulnerable to people’s wrong opinions and dumb judgments. I’d sooner let a stranger see me naked than show them a first draft, which is like letting them see my naked brain.

As someone who writes, I very much connected with Kreider’s anxieties about exposing my naked brain to a stranger. It’s one of the things that has kept me from publicly blogging over the past year. Even posting these poems to Instagram has taken a great deal of mental strength to resist overthinking and excessive editing. It’s most certainly the reason why I couldn’t keep up with the challenge and post daily.

But I feel comfortable with this poem. In fact, I even feel a little proud of it.

Categories
Poetry

Escapril 2021 – Day 5: Here’s what I remember…

This month, I’m trying to force myself to be more creative. I had intended to follow the rules of the Escapril challenge. Alas, I missed the first four days and I’m doubtful I’ll be able to keep up this year. But on the days I am able to dip in, I’ll share my poems here, too.

For those who don’t know, Escapril is the brainchild of poet and novelist Savannah Brown, who challenges the poets of Instagram to write and post a poem every day of National Poetry Month. Whilst Brown wouldn’t call herself a leader of the challenge, she is the “managerial ghost” of the @letsescapril Instagram account.


The prompt today is here’s what I remember.” I knew from the get-go I wanted this to be a personal piece, the prompt lends itself perfectly to it.

I expected the poem to be a direct transcription of very real events, and that’s certainly how it began. But about halfway, I decided writing events as they literally happened was less honest than the truth of the feelings that transpired.

People come into our lives, and I don’t know about you, but it’s not uncommon that I forget the very first time I meet someone. There are people who make a strong first impression, and sometimes that can be all they leave. But other times, an unextraordinary greeting may lead to that person growing into a very special person in your life.

This poem is heavily inspired by such a person in my life. But I’d like to think it’s dedicated to all the relationships that take us by surprise.