cityboy

I miss my
satanic mills
and grey towers
twinkling the
light of a thousand
stars

the feeling of
running and forgetting
where you’re going

and that being OK
cos running was all
you’ve ever wanted anyway

for Hong Kong

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sketch I

 

The mist came yesterday
and I was made part of an
impressionist painting the light

patchy from a scratched VCR so
old my skin raggedy with broad brush strokes;
if I looked hard enough I could see

Dali’s elephants walking so heavy yet light
on those spindle-like legs, chopsticking
to me a silhouette mess, and yet

I’ve never felt this much of myself

Day 14 and 15 (sorry for cheating deadlines coming up!!) of National Poetry Month’s a poem a day challenge. please like and follow to support

inspired by codex seraphinianus

 

The trees are
uprooted and free
they lie in

the water lazy
roots propelling them
squid like

on a whim
they disappear for
their afternoon swim

among fishes with
eyes on their
backs serene

the sea’s calm
as the messenger
never tired runs

painting rainbows on
the sky; memories
walk in coned

stalk-hats and
remind each other
what to forget

love grows on
shrubs glistening
waiting to be picked

and you

blind to all
this, so heavy,
too alive

Image

Image

a ghost came to visit

 

a ghost came
to visit
the other day

it came in
an opaque mist like
the northern lights

 

didn’t have a face
so I waited
to make sure– it stayed 

a mass of colours
the poor thing so
out of place

 in my b&w room
didn’t want to be rude
so went to get

black chocolate and tea
and started making
omelette but it

sort of swirled around
so i asked if it
didn’t like it runny

in retrospect
that might have
pissed it off

poor thing
must have wanted
to be solid

because it
burned like magnesium
and left

me standing alone
bony and monochrome
listening to the

tick tick tick
and
drip drip drip

and i don’t blame
the flurry of colours
for leaving this world of ours

The Blobbing Fish

falling (for)

falling (for)

falling is like

dying
do it once and
it’s a reason to cry
do it a thousand times and its Fine
Art

I
have fallen
like the shower of autumn leaves
singing as they
paint their mosaic
of scattered shadows

The Blobbing Fish.

Midnight Prayer

when I close my eyes
to pretend to sleep I see

(I think)

my teak wood table
scuttle and weep
‘free, free, to the forest!’
and it would amble
(with a bit of rust)
amongst the trees and
whisper with the rustling leaves

my books would join in on the fun
covers flapping—a flock of swallows

the moonlight, bored of being pale
(or s’ennuyer, as it would say)
flooded back into the sun
and was welcomed as a son

the coffee complained that it was stale
and amoebaed its way out of the mug
leaving a brown and sluggish trail
on the poor old woolen rug
who, tendrils quivering, curled itself up
muttering things that didn’t matter much
and my soul;

fleeted
to praying priests
(‘they might be pretending’)

orchestras
(‘the players are faking’)

parents
(‘their divorce you regret
mending’)

CDs
(‘autotune’)


back to the room

emptiness

grinding the parched sound
drying
my throat;

and I wake up
run to the fridge
and drink old blood-
red wine
sour cold smooth
and oh so fucking good.

Elegy for a Lamy (fountain pen)

People will chide and whisper
‘it’s just a pen, he can do better’

 

just a pen that
wrote and unwrote
two love stories breathing
life into its letters
histories and
bad poetry

freezed with me in a
foreign park your dark blood
weaving warm words

your magic fountain traced
truths (I hope) and
lies (sometimes)

and now I hold
your broken frame your
blood black like lack of all
colour

and I guess this is the end
of our stories and the one’s
you’ve written; writing

with the next pen feels like
rebound sex but I guess
sooner or later I’ll learn to love
this goddamn Parker

The Blobbing Fish.
A Lamy fountain pen that I had for quite some time died today and I wrote this straight afterwards with a replacement Parker. Weird, but hopefully interesting. 

 

punctuations

I cannot

write t

his full

stop its

deadwe

ight fin

ality w

eighing

my loss

an ang

ry point

on the

page an

arrow w

ound th

rough th

e face o

ur faces

scarred

by cruel

punctua

tions In

the sto

ry of li

fe who’s

the pied

piper w

ho decid

es what’

s before

or  afte

r so can

i pleas

e keep w

riting t

his sent

ence don

’t force

my pen

to spell

its end

;

The Blobbing Fish.

Coffee Stirring

Coffee Stirring

The man sat down gingerly at his usual seat at the café, like he did for the last year and a half. His seat was in the middle of the small courtyard outside the café, and he liked to sit with his back to the dysfunctional water fountain, facing the café itself. A weary looking waitress came up to him and inquired in a monotone “The usual?” He glanced at her; she looked out of place in the old café, out of place in the stained, stereotypically checkered apron, like so many other apathetic teens tied to it before her. The man slowly lowered his gaze, and lifted it again. Yes.

He wasn’t being rude. His neck lost the lost the youthful privilege of motion years ago. Now it holds his head defiantly, stubbornly in one direction only— forwards, and refuses to be coaxed either by acupuncture or the plethora of lotions, pills and creams stored in the rough leather bag beside his feet. Its surface looked parched and burnt, its gleam long gone; but it still served as a mirror reflecting the state of the man’s own skin.

The girl gave a curt nod and turned away, leaving behind a scent of expired dreams.

The man watched her go to the counter, and as she was about to reach for a cup, Noel Gallagher’s familiar voice emanated from behind her apron “Cos baby… be the one… saves me…” She fumbled and retrieved an old Nokia. “Yea? Are you coming or not?” She must have recognised the caller from the ringtone. She held the phone with her neck and absent-mindedly tamped the ground coffee into the portafilter, slotted it back into the machine and pressed the button.

He grimaced silently. Please tell me she tamped it properly… please. I can’t stand dilute espresso. This would never have happened when I was working in a café. Then again, I didn’t have phones to distract me…

She, on the other hand, was not pre-occupied with his worries at all, and continued talking on her phone. “You better come! I thought you had to bring that old woman out once a week? Well make it today then! God knows why you still volunteer at that godforsaken place… So you’re coming? Good. See you.”

His espresso was done. She took it and brought it to him. “Here you go. The usual. Cup of espresso, espresso in a cup, cup holding espresso.” He fought the urge to tell her that it wasn’t called a ‘cup’, but a tazzina, but the comment dissolved in his throat as the scent of his espresso hit him. “Thank you. Could I also have a glass of water please?” She rolled her eyes and went away. Her way of saying yes.

Again, he sighed in his mind— espresso should always be served with a glass of water, or else how could he get every last drop of the dark elixir into his system? And how could he get rid of that bitter aftertaste and the tell-tale scent from his breath? That scent is a caffeine addict’s equivalent of needle marks, and you can’t even hide it with a sleeve.

His glass of water came, and he turned his gaze onto the surface of the black liquid— he wrinkled a smile. It was opaque. He saw his own reflection on the surface. His white hair was a deep hue of brown, and the lines on his face were blurred by the miniscule vibrations of the liquid. He dipped his teaspoon in and stirred it clockwise. True, he didn’t have to stir, since he didn’t put any sugar in, but he used to put one teaspoon in every time, before his body decided to give him diabetes. Old habits die hard, and stirring clockwise not only gave him an illusion of the past, but also, he believed, brought him good luck. You see, his mother taught him to always stir clockwise, because that was how time flowed, and anyone who tried to do otherwise was a fool.

So, he stirred the liquid. Clockwise. Good luck. Clockwise. Good luck. His bony fingers twirled the thin handle of the spoon like a conductor’s baton, his joints working themselves into a fervour and then he pulled it out, clean. His heart lifted— the espresso didn’t stick to the spoon. It was good. He gazed into the perfect swirling vortex and reckoned that this was how time looked like, swirling pure blackness betraying a hint of unblemished white at the very bottom. The white soon disappeared, and he waited for the liquid to settle again.

He held up the thin teaspoon. It was silvery and thin, like a wisp of his hair. He turned it at an angle, so that he could vaguely make out who was sitting at the table beside him. On the back of the teaspoon was the faint outline of a man hunched over something. He seemed to be in a suit; probably a businessman. He turned it the other way. At first he couldn’t quite make out what was the oversized outline, but then he realised it was a couple entwined together, and he turned his teaspoon away hastily, embarrassed by their reflected vitality.

He had just put his finger into the handle of his tazzina when he heard the waitress shout behind him. “There you are! You took your sweet time!” He held up his teaspoon and saw a tall, lanky figure with a hunched one in tow. The man on the phone and the old woman had arrived. Once a week. He put down his teaspoon and put his gaze back onto his espresso, and tried to avoid thinking about what the waitress and the young man were doing. His espresso was still now, and he noticed how stationary the dull looking clouds were, their reflection on the black surface like fragments of a map.

There was a sound of scraping chairs and a faint grunt from the young man, who was probably helping the woman into her seat. He guessed they were sitting a few tables behind him. He held his tazzina and waited.

“Steady… Steady… whoops!” Something clinked onto the ground behind him. The girl was quick to remark “Oh it’s her ring! Actually it looks pretty nice!” “Yea it is. Give it to me so I can put it back…” A short pause. “Sophie? Can I have it back?” Another pause. “Why? She won’t even know it’s gone. She can’t remember anything, you said it yourself. You said she sometimes thinks you’re her husband. It’s…” “Look it doesn’t matter whether she remembers or not! Now…” “What do you mean, it doesn’t matter? You can’t get a proper job, and I never see you because you’re always at that stupid elderly home! Think of this as compensation! She won’t even notice, see?” And she switched to a high pitched sing-song voice, as if she was talking with a toddler, “Hello! Is this your ring? Do you know what this is?” Silence. “See? She doesn’t even know! I’m keeping this, and you can just tell the people at that place it fell off somewhere without you noticing. If they ever notice that it’s missing, that is!” The young man stuttered but couldn’t come up with a retort.

The man’s fingers, still curled into the handle of his tazzina, trembled as they did fifty years ago when he put that very ring in Sophie’s hands on the finger of the woman sitting behind him. Before she became an echo of herself, before she couldn’t recognise him, before they told him to stop visiting her because it was too stressful for both of them, before he started coming to this café every day, hoping that that day would be the day the young man came.

The surface of his espresso shuddered, blurring the reflection of the clouds, which were no longer stationary, but gliding away like lost candyfloss blown away by the wind.

Clockwise indeed.

The Blobbing Fish.