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.
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
people are packed closer here
but that means I can finally hear
the thumping of foreign hearts
as they jostle – collide, fumble – thrive,
and how wonderful it is to be able to breathe
as winter’s last bouts of rain
washes my deluded expectations clean.
(oh, and you know what?
I have begun to appreciate
my daily dose of intimacy
on crowded trams,
as they crawl up swanston street.)
there is more distance here
but the ones I love are forever intertwined
in the chords of my apple earphones.
I complain about 6pm traffic every day
forgetting when the rush hour noises
faded into a familiar hum.
her footsteps echo through
another nameless tunnel
in this concrete maze,
all the lost ones, left searching.
the train rumbles above
towards its destination,
as inevitability echoes around
the thought of destiny, it ricochets
in her shaking fingertips
passing through flesh, bubbling blood
sinking into brittle bone but doesn’t quite
pierce the soul, she is so afraid of others
but also the dark, of herself,
and of death, leaving no mark.
nobody is born a voyeur
but life told her she is not a voyager –
so what else can she do but wrap the strands
of strange, perfect lives around her like
golden silks embedded with ruby stories
pretend to be the empress in her
borrowed robes, she quieten the child
who wants to shatter these delusions,
and let the rainbow light dance off her skeletons –
what to be when waking feels like being asleep,
nothing to see but these false and wonderful dreams.
I learnt my first 儿歌 over a
long-distance phone call as 妈妈
sat under the southern cross,
halfway around the world.
she sang about 一闪一闪的
小星星and I wonder if she
ever wished upon these flickering
lights to 再次 share the same sky
with the mother and daughter
she was forced to leave behind.
almost two decades later,
three generations 团聚在,
the same roof 下, but my
memories of 金色的 stars
cast across 陌生的 sunset
have become hazy, even
in slumber, my anglicised tongue
has become better at tying
knots into cherry stems than
imitating my grandmother’s songs.