莲花 heart

In 2017, hip-hop took over China, in a large part due to a popular internet-based reality talent show called 中国有嘻哈 (Rap of China).

I was really late to hop on the bandwagon. So late in fact that by the point I binge watched the entire show earlier this year, rap has essentially been soft-banned in China.

Nevertheless, I was inspired to try write something myself, with the idea of mixing Chinese & English being something I was particularly interested in doing.

As some of the contestants said in the show, the most important part of rap is to “keep it real” and tell your own truth so that’s what I tried to do. If I couldn’t incorporate any complex rhyme patterns or have sophisticated flow changes, at least I could take a snapshot at my life in 2018.

I feel like this attempt is very juvenile and rushed but it was from the heart and so much fun so I wanted to share it anyway!

Now to be clear, it’s pretty evident, even if you don’t understand what I’m saying, that my musical background isn’t the strongest and I tried to force my lyrics into a backing track that wasn’t tailored for it (& therefore about 1/3 of the through I’m painfully offbeat) so that’s my bad, I didn’t have time to make it better/was too eager to put something out even if it’s really rough.

That’s my longwinded pre-amble, I hope you can find something in here that speaks to you.


Original lyrics & translated version (English) below:

You know, I used to be so scared of dying.
It was the rounding of a circle, the fade to black, permanent non-existence if you will.

Nowadays, death seems less daunting, more like a spoiler alert, you know? At first I thought it meant I grew up but maybe that’s not it. I used to want to leave a legacy, now I just want to stop feeling so… numb. Continue reading “莲花 heart”

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shades of blue

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Image courtesy of: BearsForPresident

she is jetting off to another adventure,
all those escapades across the waters,
while I sit at home, piecing together
snippets of her life, play them like a
pirated movie, drowning slowly in a
second-hand experience of her.

forget wild parties or listening to
the unfamiliar beats of foreign hearts,
she has done it all. that girl bleeds
art and probably drinks it too, I wonder
if my life could be like hers if I liked
grapes less than I did wine?

don’t lie to yourself, sober fool,
it was never about you. even this,
I almost gave to her, happy to be
a little parrot, rolling scraps of her
sunshine across the tongue because
I thought I could never light my own darkness,
bright plumage hiding a tepid fear of existence,
latching onto her for the sake of
anchoring my life.

alas, today, why not let the winds of fate
carry away the map to her as I am no
longer seeking out her, tales of greater
treasures shall be written yet.
She knows that, I am sure. This is
not for her, or you, it’s for me and now.
For there is enough ocean for all of us
to find what we are looking for,
if we have enough spirit to go searching,
traversing together and apart, towards
the horizon, through our own shades of blue.

an unknown else

balloon-1111368_1280

I am helium, at times invisible,
otherwise filling entire rooms with
giggles, little bursts of sound
bouncing off ceilings before
fading into shrill silence.

I am dispersed thoughts, scattered
stars, supergiant speckles of light
dusting the unfamiliar shapes of
our universe, wishing upon self to find
home on humble earth, even if it is in
a cheap red balloon from a party bag mix.

At least it will help me comprehend
where I begin and everything else ends, give
body to existence and meaning to freedom
through loss. Shape me if you can catch me,
trap me and I shall love you until my last breath
or at least until I grow tired of your name.

For my true colours seep clear and intangible,
and I am bound by the eventual, inevitable call
of an unknown else.

Existence (a poem for a tattoo)

Hi friends,

I got my first tattoo in January 2018 and it was designed by the amazing & talented Zeze who is based in Auckland, New Zealand.

It is based off a Chinese fable called 猴子捞月 (the monkeys saving the moon) – if anyone is interested in what the story is about, I’m happy to provide a translated version.

I’ve been trying to write a poem inspired by the fable, but it just wasn’t working, I think it was a tad too restrictive. Instead,  I wrote a little something very loosely inspired by Zeze’s artwork alone.

I think that’s one of the best things about art, how it can be re-discovered, re-imagined and re-mixed to produce unexpected results and then interpreted every which way too.

Either way, a life update & a poem, I hope you like it.

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Image courtesy of: Zeze

Continue reading “Existence (a poem for a tattoo)”

the willows, they

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Image courtesy of: vurdeM

creep up pale cheek,
whisper about me
behind the teeth.
tendrils burying into scalp,
snapping the neck back
into vulnerability.

some say these soft,
phantom weeds, born
of the mind can be easily
exterminated through a wish
to be free, clearly they have
forgotten, we are no more than
lost children of Eden,
searching for meaning.

Inexplicable sadness
carried by the wind,
germinates into a dull ache,
sprouting dissociation as fresh roots
wrap around the ribcage, bitter,
beating heart numb to the bites of
venomous, verminous thoughts,
they have a stronger desire for life
than I can muster, no more than
a careless cadaver,
caught in the headlights.
A poor little flower,
drowned in homemade herbicide.

unfamiliar shapes

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Image courtesy of: Starryjohn

[I]

Look! The lovers are throwing themselves
over the moon, as the lost ones fall into
gravity’s embrace – stumbling, fumbling
children making their homes in the forest of thorns.

Tendrils of worry fill their mind as they wonder
what sins they were paying for, bodies bruised,
egos torn, instinctively clinging onto themselves
and each other in the shadows of the stars.

[II]

We set our fears on fire to remember who we are,
reminding ourselves that the dying galaxies
blinking so innocently up above are not ours to
wish upon and that we must keep moving with the
rise of the morning sun.

Even though there is an itch at the edge of our hurt,
fingers trembling, we shall resist the urge
to crush our capillaries into unfamiliar shapes of kindness
we were never afforded, we know we cannot give it
without mixing in shards of bitter bone, swallow
words like contraceptives against rejection.

Let the blood pool inside these soft shells,
bathe our fragile hearts in our own warmth, realise
there is nothing in the world outside us worth
latching our teeth into.

before sleep comes

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Image courtesy of: StudioUndertheMoon

do you ever lose yourself
when the night breaks to day?

and sullen silence is stained by white noise
but the darkness remains, caught in the ridges
of your molars as you grind down life
into ingestible inches of time.

there’s these sticky, murky thoughts
stuck behind the tongue and you’re not sure
if they’re even yours, head pounding
from all the muddled drinks
and puddled tears, you feel your heart
ache for someone you have yet to meet
and might never know, maybe that’s
for the best because the ones that get close
tire of how you dwell over the same mistakes
day and day again, the wayward words
carried by the wind litter barren streets with bro-
ken signs, nobody bothers to listen.

too many already dance in our heads, hallow skull but a
crowded stage, no space for new thought
or moving on, only screaming matches
against ourselves, stubborn anthems
against unmovable fate, I don’t know
if I’m starting to lose voice or mind,
I think by the time both go, it’s time to close my eyes.

People I noticed: 2017

A:

wild curls, soft eyes
strong hands, gentle smile
like light rain on a sunny day
or childhood games and daisy chains

– for M

B:

her eyeliner could slice
through my confidence
like I was nothing but a paper
lion, gawking at the sun,
casting shadows of doubt
onto fragile mind.

and I can’t fault her
for those pretty little
knives, throwing my shredded
words up into the sky –
you scare me, but my heart,
it readily mistakes these
palpitations as twisted love.

for A

C:

clean neck and
moon shaped eyes
hollow bones and
sharp black lines
ticking, clicking midnight lights,
hazy moments frozen in white.

she strums silence into lullabies
unravels kindness from fingertips
and sends them up to the skies
fluid beauty in frozen winter nights.

– for D

20 January

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Image courtesy of: Hideyoshi

I could hear in his voice
the conviction of youth
and I wonder if mine
was wasted on a fool
who has chewed down flesh
and bone to leave a terrined-heart
dished out, cold.

Do boys like to wear suits and
swirl wine, slice through
boundaries like butter
because they think that anything
in the world can be bought by paper,
and if not, they’ll burn it down instead.

They wear metal on wrist
and hold metal in hand,
thinking they were born protagonist,
except sometimes forests are not yours
to cut down or even explore,
who gave you permission to scale these walls
she was never yours to save.

Now, I’m not saying women
are any better at sorting through
this tangled ball of fate and quick
mistakes but I have always envied
the rain for how it melts into waterfalls
and I could always trust the ocean
to cleanse any small cut or graze,
she feels safe,
maybe soon the hesitation
will fade.

Continue reading “20 January”