Unequal Halves (Audio)

Say, do you remember when
we pressed our palms together
and our lifelines intertwined –

I wonder how many millimeters
of time can be measuring in
these tangled memories.

get lost in frayed thoughts,
set tears on fire so cooled hearts
remember what numb is not,
even if the burn is less passion and
more pain, feel it from femur to fingertips.

sometimes I wake up from dreams
that have more vibrancy than reality,
haven’t we all lied in bed for what could
have been a moment or stretched by shadow
into days, into a daze, eyes closed,
trying to slot scrambled scenes into a movie
where we get the happy ending we deserve
before the light turns back on?

when boredom creeps in,
I hold my breath and watch the clock
tick down just so emptiness gains form
and I can be reminded that this body,
gasping for air, wants to be alive.

Tonight, the sky is black.
Fire is calm, heart obsidian, cuts
life in unequal halves.


mentioned: to be unnamed

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可惜不是你 – If only it was you

I was in a long distance relationship when I heard this song live in late 2016. I instantly felt a pang in my chest, and it was in that moment that I consciously came to terms with the end of the relationship. There’s really no coming back from mourning a break up that hasn’t happened yet, so that’s why this is a really special song for me.

I tried to remain faithful in my translation but I’ve prioritised capturing the essence of the song first and foremost. I hope it makes you feel something. 


Suddenly, this moment fills with familiarity,
yesterday’s memories playing over reality.
The way I speak is more like you than me,
evidence of the love that used to be.

Almost believed my own lies,
and maybe fooled you too.
loving and being loved aren’t always
to the same degree.

Being in someone else’s thoughts
is a type of luck, I agree, but I don’t know
how to give myself over completely.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday
and yesterday feels so very far away,
yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding my hand
in yours, even now your gentleness lingers
on my palms.

That time when our hearts beat as one,
I wish I still had the right to care for you.
except you are now part of someone else’s
scenery, I hope in her world you can see
the shadows of burdened stars.

Tried my best to change but I can’t
shift these pre-set boundaries.
I thought being by your side
could be the start of eternity,
but it feels like yesterday
and yesterday feels so very far away,
yet when I close my eyes, I can still see –
If only it was you, by my side until the end.
Don’t you remember when we walked and
our shoulders would collide?

But we lost our way, parted at fork-roads,
thank you for being there and holding my hand
in yours, even now your gentleness lingers
on my palms. Thank you for when you were there
and holding my hand in yours,
I can still feel your warmth burning in my chest.

Continue reading “可惜不是你 – If only it was you”

to be unnamed

This poem is inspired by Call Me By Your Name & was written with Visions of Gideon playing in the background.

If Heaven is built on white lies,
then let me believe for the last time
that your breath can run into mine,
giddy with love; you and me, likewise.

But why is it that every time our lips
collide, I can’t taste anything beyond
the quiet? Tell me, when will the thought
of you stop clouding these closed eyes?
Don’t forget the rain and wistful smiles.

Hey love, am I still allowed to call you
so? I suppose names were never our own,
gifted to us by others, so our entirety can
be condensed into palpable syllables,
rolled over the tongue, bitten into and
chewed on until the flavour fades
or tastes suddenly change.

I truly thought I was okay until time
reminded me of its unpredictable path
from now until tomorrow, here I am again.
Silence stretches out as long as a
sleepless night, and I am unlearning desire,
like feeling itself is a bad habit, brea
king words until they lose all meaning,
writing about you until I forget the way
I used to whisper – your name.

Continue reading “to be unnamed”

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)”

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.

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

water_grave_by_hideyoshi-d9s9f3r
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”

absurday

 

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she,
slots symposiums in envelopes
that she never sends.

he,
has fingers that shiver with reconnaissance
but uses them to play the violin instead.

they,
make drunken contact, sharing
evaporated kisses and a temporary
osmosis of the soul. 

swimming in the lacuna
of disillusioned love
feels more like drowning than release.
they,
emerge from the dream
covered in crushed
butterfly wings.

Continue reading “absurday”

Eclipsed 心

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Photography: mxqqy (self)

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.

Continue reading “Eclipsed 心”

Love(d)

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Photography: mxqqy (self)

I:

dandelion seeds,
crack in the sidewalk they meet,
serendipity.

II:

beach towels on car seats,
washing sand off salt-licked feet,
oh, his sun-kissed cheeks.

III:

the wind takes the leaf,
away from her favourite tree,
his roots run too deep.

IV:

earthworms are asleep,
warm hearts shiver separately,
sad eyes and cold screens.