Friday, August 1, 2008

Cheong Lee San



I helped her up from the bed,
her frail bony body trembling,
the bedsheets damp from the pain,
and fed the painkillers into
her parched mouth hoping
it will ease her sufferings.
There was fight in her eyes,
she will not give up easily,
as i forced a plastic smile,
hoping she will live till Christmas,
as i repeated to myself,
damn it, no tears, she will not want it this way.


I was at her grave, with the flowers
and incense, her ashes just a stone slab away,
and i ran my fingers down the indentations
in the marble that was her name.
I remembered how i had ran these
same fingers down her svelte body
in a darkened room, when we were
younger and unsure,
the soft moans, the mad entwining
of hot bodies,
and i smiled and cried and called her name.

What’s Left

what's left
of the sunlight
on this bleak
wet evening
dances on
the gleaming
skins of
puddles on
bare pavements
as shadows chase
the day
up the
stone piers
of train viaducts
and the
damp trunks
of rain trees.
what are the
chances of
the silvery slice
of cold moon
cutting through
grey nimbus
like a scimitar?
until then
the last rays
dip and play
and dart
over the city
over the trains
pulling into
the stations
the tired
hungry masses
trudging home.

The Gods Are Watching Over us In The Morning

in the half light that is the dawn over
the blocks of flats, when the night wind
gently slaps discarded papers and dead leaves
along the long expanse of corridor of our block,
i leave for work, my cigarette smoke mingling
with the perfumed incense my old neighbour lighted
to the God of Heaven, praying for safe passage
through the day for her and her loved ones.
then i walked past doors protected by talismans,
bogus, even crucifixes, past homes guarded by waifs
of pomeranians that snarled from behind locked gates,
their barks, shrill and indignant, in the cool air,
go past flowerpots with plants badly in need
of watering, down the stairs through the coffeeshop,
through harsh fluorescent lights and whiffs of toast,
past grizzled old men drinking coffee from saucers,
then meet the hordes of sleepy-eyed children
sleepwalking to schools, the grandmothers
shuffling to the wet market to haggle over
fishes and vegetables.
the same gods are watching over us all.

Heavy Metal

the sky was rocking
heavy metal,
clouds bruised
blue black,
as white light slashed
across its face
it growled
as in pain.
i leaned at the window
as my cigarette smoke
curled outside
to die
in the rain.

My Old Sergeant

my old sergeant
calls to me
from a bus stop.
he still remembers me
maybe i am the nerdy one
i don't give him trouble.
we talk
and laugh.
we are old men now
how time has aged a soldier,
he walks with a cane today.
was it not long ago
i saw him dismount
from an armored carrier
carbine slung across
his chest
walking through a haze
of red dust
churned up
by battle vehicles?
we talk
about the old days.
we laugh
cough a bit
and then
go about our
separate ways.

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