Bowl cusps remnants left
by small appetite. Too common
a sight to bother compared to
pit stop lunches preceding lists of
errands to run,
commissions to earn.
The bowl, a faulty tire
by the wayside, offends
incoming occupants planned
for swift and sharp refuel.
The race that ensues requires
full concentration; leaving no space
to tar one’s shoes.
The bowl is cleared, not by one
from the hunched, underpaid,
and neglected team.
But by a man, neatly dressed with
umbrella hooked on arm that
extends to deft hand which
swoops in to take the bowl
and puts it to mouth;
swallowing contents along with
remnants of his pride.
Silence issues from gaping
mouths of those in the pits
as the man departs.
But it is soon broken
by chatter pronouncing
hungry hopes superior
to that of body to drown
The bowl is left cusping
of an unwitting offering.
There is no such thing, for
it is done.
What is left are
Cycles of times past;
Beginnings shed light anew
on well-learnt wisdoms.
As a new ‘writer’, I am always happy whenever I am published – be it online or some obscure indie journal. But to be featured in an exhibition is really quite another experience altogether. To see people walking about and looking at your work with some concentration (I would like to think) is really exhilarating and frightening at the same time. You start to get defensive just in case people do not like your work.
Nonetheless, I do embrace this experience as it is all part of creating something. One’s work does not have a life if it stays in the bottom drawer.
Even if I fail, I would often tell myself, “fail often and faster – that way success will just be around the corner.”
Looking at the other works on display, I must say that there really are a lot of creative talents here and most of these artists/writers are younger than me! I am glad that my work sits together with them.
I do hope that the works by these artists will soon be framed with a little card at the bottom right corner stating the dimensions, material, and price.
I am pleased to announce that my poem, “Quarter-life Crisis”, has been published in the inaugural issue of Malaise. I was quite surprised that it was accepted as this was dashed off quite quickly. Do let me know what you think of the poem!
For those who are residing in Singapore, Malaise Journal can be purchased at Books Actually and Cat Socrates. Do hurry as this is a limited print run.
I recently came across this twitter account, Haikews Project. The project is simple: read the news, compose a haiku that essentialises what it’s about, and post a link to the story. I thought it was fun and decided to give it a try. The following are what I have come up so far.
For the first few haikus, I wasn’t aware that I needed to post a link to the story:
(Embarrassingly, I even got the hashtag wrong! Unfortunately, Twitter does not allow one to edit tweets.)
After realising that I needed to add a link to my haikus, these were what I came up with:
At this point, I thought I should try to stick closer to the conventions of the form as possible. I felt that I was merely fitting words into word count. A quick search on the internet taught me that I needed to add a cæsura in the first or second line as well as a nature metaphor to provide a “sketch of nature” to those reading the haikus.
I tried to come up with a nature metaphor for these two pieces of news but I failed. As such, I just stuck to the right syllable count.
It is a really interesting exercise to capture the gist of the news in 14 syllables. It forces you to be straighforward with your delivery, and leaves no space for superficial flourishes. When I added the nature metaphor, I realised that I tend to use it as my personal commentary on the news and it really served me well.
If I had to pick my favourite “haikew”, it would be the one on Obama observing the demise of newspapers. “Sheets of autumn leaves” is very evocative for me as I could see tonnes of newspapers being tossed out of windows as they fall like autumn leaves. The sight of newspapers falling also reminded of the Chinese funeral tradition of tossing paper offerings in the air as the family walks around the coffin.
All in all, it really is a good warm-up exercise if you are gearing to write something bigger and longer. It’s akin to practising the scales before attempting a sonata.