I have a strikingly incorrigible memory of cold tofu, as if I’ve had it before, snugged in a cramp Japanese-style bar with dated stools and lacquered dark-wood tables. Steam perforates … Continue reading Reading Tofu
After the rain, trees waver to the wind, and they rustle when a bird seeks shelter, waving to an onlooker from a balcony. Inching in all directions, they fight and encroach, and on good days, are the companions we need.
Their green and brown tendrils yearn to be embraced, so they shed their leaves, hoping we’d pick them up, feel its veins and keep them between our hands (or between a favourite book), before letting them go again.
I want ice cream. I’m only halfway through dinner but I know what my body wants and I want ice cream. I think about the sweet, gooey goodness melting and sliding … Continue reading Ice Cream
We took a 5 hour drive through the south of Bohemia into Austria, passing the invisible border marked by hills and plains, where everything changes without warning.
In a little repository lodged at the back of my mind are some isolated memories I have of my father. They wane in detail, sculpted in a way that I … Continue reading Further.
The air is a little different at six in the morning, as if they too, had some time for rest and rejuvenation, enveloping early risers with a sheen of lightness … Continue reading The Blue Hour
It’s been over a month since we’ve moved into this new home. It’s a little old and the air-wells and vents meant that we could listen in on our neighbours. … Continue reading The Sound of Home
I regret it. The dinner table is filled with stories being tossed around in a game of catch, and I have always failed to understand it– this game, its rules, … Continue reading The extremely nerve-wrecking attempt to socialize with a bunch of people I barely know
Last month, I was surprised with a one week all expense paid trip to Zurich. I had all my winter clothes ready and all I expected were indeterminate stereotypes– cobblestones and … Continue reading A Conversation with Winter in Zurich
The impatient sun seeps through my half-opened eyelids. They flutter in disagreement, and I swing a bolster over my face, half breathing and negotiating between space and heat. My arms … Continue reading Phantom Spaces
When I was fourteen, I really thought I was going to be a graphic designer 10 years later. But I chickened out– people encourage you to do what you love, … Continue reading An Homage to Writing
Japan reverberates in two, almost antithetical rhythms. Tokyo is syncopated and erratic, though extremely efficient in its eclecticism. Walking the streets, you’d notice that one building is promisingly different from … Continue reading Japan in Film
What was I thinking was exactly what I was thinking the moment we were left to our own in a 13 degree celsius, rainy morning at Utne, Norway.
As it sets its pace into a rhythmical routine, travelling can sometimes seem to lose its allure. We acclimatise to the workings of Airbnb, Skyscanner and habits of off-peak booking; … Continue reading Work // Travel
The tipping urgency of a phone battery dying is unnerving, uncomfortable, as if your existence rests solely on it that while it dwindles, you too, dwindle, recounting it as a punishment for your own profligacy.
Ironically however, relief looms because you are not held responsible for your reprieve. You want to disappear and revel in your underlying fantasy of anonymity. As though there is an invisible helmet over your head, that while you are aware of your own strangeness of being, nobody else knows the bearer of this awkwardness that is you. For that moment, you are free.
But freedom, in its highest regard, exists only in the moments before you exercise them. There is an unwanted fear that surges from your nakedness. Perhaps, a book in your hand amid chattering strangers stands firmer as an ideal and should in fact remain as such. The first few stanzas stare at you glaringly. You look down at the table with that slice of cake you ordered and for a moment, are aware of your hesitation. It is as if you no longer know how to use the fork and knife and it’s a painstaking effort to have to re-learn them, even at 30.
You do all these and in the beginning it all seems thrilling. But we do them knowing that this brief moment of solitude where structure and practice can disintegrate, will come to an end. And that is the necessary condition to freedom. Freedom or our idea of it, are glimpses of self-determination with the certainty that it will not last, because you would not allow that phone to be dead forever.
Our proclamations of love move, on highways and hills, alleys and still, each question or embrace seem to forget its past in our daily enclosure. We sit side by side … Continue reading Placemaking
It is almost morning. Their toes peek from his checkered sheets and the ocean walls fall asleep with their distant chatters still plastered within its gentle heartbeat.
In the dark, she could still see his eyes yearning amid the planets they have sown with careful devotion. She is fighting against fatigue and fear, her lips refuse to utter goodnight and her head refuses to let her heart speak, so she remains silent and let her head rise and fall to the undulating rhythm of his breath.
First light at dawn, unperturbed. When her eyes opened, the urgency of time crept into them, welled up. She thought that if she were to move and speak less, time would do the same. But it didn’t; it was relentless and relentlessly, it went on until the final trace of him too, was gone.
Left to her own, words began to take its shape, each syllable of desire and loss— of love — begins now to make sense again and the more they toss and turn in her gut, the more it leaves her wanting.
In the midst of it all, defy fleetingness, defy the death of words, defy apprehension and fear because time is and never will be on your side, but it can, however be nullified by your courage to transcend it. Because all I ever want is to relinquish the weight of your waits, where to love, isn’t at all to wait in its immutable darkness but to rage against the blinding light, where the only thing guiding ourselves is your hand in mine and the sound of our voice.
So speak the open seas, speak freely.
It’s 11pm and the last patron has left, smoke lingering along the mouth of the ashtray. Inside, Crystal meticulously cleans the coffee machine as if these two entities were the … Continue reading Closing
I had just woke up from a nap of rain and thunderstorm, sleeping through torrents like a baby without needs. The earth is once again renewed while I disappear into another.
Tying my shoelaces, I walked out to the street near my home. The wind a pleasant chill on my skin, the birds and grass welcoming. The stones beneath my sole crunch, crunch, crunch and the sun shies away.
I am reminded of my daily jaunts when I was younger, where time does not tug, it merely watches on with wistful resignation. Every interval of my step is filled with imagination, I am here and someplace more beautiful. Unlike the sort of Sunday stroll burdened with tomorrow’s pile of unfinished work, early mornings, restless nights.
The sense of an ending precipitates often, but I hope to be silent in my final hours, with only the voice of love spilling on my pages before a deep, unperturbed sleep.
I can tell you and I this, that within the boundaries of our bodies, breaths and binaries, we are more infinite than we think we can be.
At some point you’d think
looking at your freshly mowed
I am truly, truly
I’ve left my Selves
And the cities
I’ve learned to build
I’ve lost it all and I am
Finally, no one.
And you’d nod
to the faint call
Turn around to kiss
her beautiful mouth
her mysterious hands
You help her set the table
I’ve been closer to my dark green notebook, finding rare nights of incoherent epiphanies(or so I think) reverberating along the gaps, severing the often messy layers of gray matter. That everything is a stranger, simpler version of the prosaic— love, desires, deciduous truths, attachments of all sorts, detachments of all of the above. The universe can be described in a word, or words found in dusty archives, and it remains that I am that vexatious blink of a cursor, the spaces that follow are spaces for my narrative, confined, controlled, magic.
Only by the erroneous perception of time and the imminence of a kind of death, we allow these words to hide among its many selves, we forcefully imbue importance on the things we fail to question, but rightly so, because questions are merely slippages of speech and thought where they escape our steady senses of totality. The act of waking up can be strange, you toss and turn, absurd measures to ignore these unfinished conversations, piled on your bedside table. But you see the book with its page dog eared, where she had left off from last night— readjusting, where the curvature of the earth are her arms made to fit yours. The almost inaudible breath, the lifetime of a star gone astray in this new day, the one with her name on it.
Your knees were almost
You tie up family trees
with a vacant heart
Under a reserve,
set in a night time park
Where glimpses of my youth reverberate
amid the buzzing lights, along the whispering wind
you are here and you are
excavating selves through his voice
Resenting unconditional love
Until I noticed that you’ve stopped looking into
while taking a moment to breathe
I saw not
an entirety nor a vision met
But a sense of longing, weaving themselves
into the way you speak,
The distances in which you find
Enmeshed in pretence.
I was dishonest;
I wanted to kiss you and hold you
But I couldn’t;
Bound by vines who took
my stories away from me
Overlooking Prague from Vyserhad More Prague discoveries. We miss this city so much! LILLY Highlight of the day The weather is less cruel today. We started off walking in Petrin Hill, … Continue reading Travelling with your Ex-Lover: Day 5 | Prague
Hello from Prague! We’ve been really busy with work and re-adjusting to new (and not so new) things happening in our lives. But let’s talk about Prague- a place that … Continue reading Traveling With Your Ex-Lover: Day 3 & 4 | London & Prague
Hello, from our first Tube ride in London! LILLY Highlight of the day Waking up in the morning to the cold and the sun playing hide and seek with your … Continue reading Traveling With Your Ex-Lover: Day Two|London
Nothing much really, just a 14 hour plane ride which really tested our patience. But with plenty of free time, we thought of a few Q&A to share with you.
1. Best person to spend 14 hours in a plane with
Erik: My brother, Jason
Lilly: Dr. Sharon Bong, my Gender Studies and Creative Writing lecturer. I can listen to her speak for 14 hours and won’t get enough. Mmmm.
Best and worst part of being in a relationship
Erik: The worst part is how you sometimes lose your temper really easily when you’ve been together with someone for a while. Best part would be that despite how irrational, overbearing and paranoid some people can get when they’re in a relationship, they also strive to be, and are better than they normally are.
Lilly: Hmm. A relationship is bad when two lovers become inward looking, indulgent to the point of being utterly selfish. Then they cease to add value in the lives of those around them, which is quite counter productive. Best thing, is when you get to understand yourself in the eyes of someone you love and that is comforting, very encouraging and most of all, it makes you want to be that better person.
What you have learnt from past relationships
Erik: That human beings are complex, three dimensional creatures that you can’t reduce to an easily understandable notion of “what you want this person to be” in your head. Sounds like a mouthful but it just means that when you’re in a relationship you have to realise that the person you’re seeing is just complex and thinks thoughts which are just as deep as yours.
Lilly: I see parts of myself which I don’t like and that makes me very evasive. Which is something I realise about myself often :(
What have you learnt about Lilly/Erik today?
Lilly: Erik’s favourite subject in high school was Physics and History. and, he poops A LOT. A LOT.
Erik: I do not poop a lot! It’s just the weather that’s been making me poop and pee really slowly. Anyway, Lilly gets really restless on a long distance flight and vents by hitting people in her immediate vicinity (ie. me).
Today, we’ll be flying off to Prague in the evening! Additional note, three people sleeping on one bed (Cherie, Erik & Lilly)- mhmm. OK BYE!
Travelling with your ex-lover. Sounds daunting? Near impossible? It seems like we have no qualms about it. Early this year, Erik and I decided to go on a trip together … Continue reading A 16 Day Journey with Your Ex Lover.
Blue jazz bar,
Beer battered bruises,
in a corner she was breathing heat
numbing hearts along those gaudy seats
along my legs
she was running across strange pulses
Her hand in mine
Her hand was mine
They briefly touch the city lights
Birds they sip the shallow skies
they move on
and lull love’s verses
trailing your grievances
With ashes along its brim,
Conversing with a store-bought
I remember you
Leaves rustling late, your ghosts
They sail across your
your crystal lips—
When you held my hand
You held his secrets too.
It seems like I’ve always had a lover, I cannot do without. He has a temper, she’s undecided. He’s a compulsive smoker, she’s a compulsive hoarder. His architectural tastes and forays are deeply pretentious, she thinks that Umberto Eco is a nature-friendly brand. What she lacks, he unhinges upon me greater lack, erring at the edge of safe.
In his terms, I am loveless when I love him, a lover when I love her. And because she is wordless, she could be anything.
Absences of signs, of signification can be one of the most vexatious non-thing because they also mean a surplus of signs and signification, where they threaten to outrun and escape the sense which tries to contain it. In fact, the greater the absence, the greater the surplus.
I carry them with me wherever I go. However, upon reaching a fleeting sense of wholeness at a park bench, a habitual cafe or just about anywhere where space doesn’t matter as much as person, these surpluses disintegrate in accumulation. Amid stability, I think of Kundera’s notion of love epitomized by a shared sleep and seamlessly weave you into quotes before I spill them out again for discussion. There is a way you can disappear, where your thoughts are left suspended, emancipated from surpluses, which is to listen to the voice of your festivity, listen to its silence, the way it holds your hand.
The sun is setting over us now, engulfing pasts, taking all possibilities with it, enveloping them within diaphanous fixtures and there is no way we can congeal time, crystallize realities. Once these needless reservations wither away over the silence we have between us, I find myself remembering again how easy it is to be next to you. These words fall to the ground and they dissipate, but they travel through these veins heading to nowhere but towards a moment we call ‘here and now’. I can’t hold these things with me, these nuances dancing upon your lips, they disappear when you hold your hand out like this. The ease of leading us along these roads that take us elsewhere culminates from knowing that this in fact will not be a constant reality- you belong elsewhere and I here, manoeuvring through motions of uncertainties. However, a few things remain true as long as I keep them close to heart: We belong to time that is severed by the people we love and if you ask me again, I will never step foot into your reality, because what makes mine, are those seemingly undefinable but nonetheless personally significant stories I tell you about, those things that you told me you were happy for and I take your word for it, because I will hold on to that and make sure that I will not falter when I build my reality around her. That is all that matters and I am sure of it; of her. I take your word, and I take these moments, every gesture and every (un)spoken lies, and keep them far away but never forgotten.
Writing retrospectively and alone in my room, without any witness, I am aware that you cannot pry apart what in fact, is more fictitious than the other. But I’ve just dropped my keys in the bowl and sat myself on this chair with my socks still intact. I have not mustered the patience to shut the windows so my floor is now damp and the air droops heavy with the scent of half hearted endearments and a terrible concoction of sweat, like a crowded subway station filled with waiting and wants. I am all set to write– congeal the freshest segment of my memory within the spaces of these clicking keys. For the respect of privacy, I will adhere to the rules of anonymity and gender ambiguity for the unbiased reading of what I am about to express. This is dear to my heart, in which I’ve exhausted not only myself but the tireless and reticent string of words that I have many times used, disposed of and replaced with undeniable difficulty as if parting with a loved one: first with the utmost intensity of emotions to compensate for loss of reasonable convention, and as time ensues, tapers until the next utterance triggers some sort of strange memory, each syllable punching into solid seconds, where the clarity of the past seems to feel more poignant than when your loved one first left.
But what is truth except for the revelation of a desire to understand the present as a product of our memories? In fact, this fragment of my memory of which I’m about to write to you soon reiterates itself without my knowing, which reminds me of how a friend was asking me if I had seen her wallet, her eyes searching like an anxious prey, only for me to tell her, “You’re holding it!”. She merely laughs at her momentary lapse into what we would call, a senile moment.
But as I remember it, I wept while my lips quivered as X spoke about love. Y had died, and it was the duty of the eldest M to prepare an eulogy as a consolation to the bereaved. The ashes are kept, where young men chasing after their ‘maidens’ will never catch them, neither would the young women ever grow old. Pardon my digression for this isn’t what I meant to write to you about. In fact, after a long consideration as I tread along these words, this is what I really mean to say and all you really need to know:
6am I woke up hallucinating from the shrooms on the bed or was it all in my dream?
7am I found a chain in between the sheets and the bling must be kept safe (note to self)
8 am Finally found the sun and it’s officially the start of the day. All star signs are aligned and based on Master Yoshi’s horoscoope and my lucky 8 ball, I will meet a tall dark handsome gentlemen
9am strolled out of bed and into the streets. Blew weed as the stroll by to the same coffee shop was uneventful. Joyful start to the day <end>
Written by guest blogger who refused to be named
My days are gently perforated by these apparitions, contrails on a cold, quiet morning, loops overhead while the severity of reality jolts me from my somnolence.
It is too soon for importance when you’re just a petal within the hurriedly painted backdrop of the rhythmic spaces of isolation. Droning settles in as silence makes its way deeper into the conjectures of his heart.
Then he says to me: Waking up to love is a certain kind of death.
I am not
These passing vestiges
In a space
Encumbered by your longing
And my impatience
Are the distance I love
A chance encounter
An accidental collusion
Where these hands meet
Like a child eager to find and greet
his first garden friend
We would become
An image of what
we are not
Only stories told in our heads
Where if I hold your hands like this
I’d lose you completely
I don’t generally write posts like these, but I was looking through some pictures from Facebook (my biggest source of old pictures- I never really keep any on my own) … Continue reading Night
Meanderings at night, carving out a language of resistance, of corroboration. All too quickly thrust themselves with impatient resolutions. These distinctions between the personal, political and public set themselves visible, unutterable. Within a context where we remain embarrassingly hesitant about disclosing our innermost desires, anxieties, deep-seated fears, the complacency of ideological fixtures become all the more personified through the way we refuse to accept, admit.
For certain truths to exist, we must will ourselves out of existence. Like these verses, they stand out only within forgotten, taken-for-granted, heteronormative spaces of a social reality.
It is raining
Shall I ask-
You, if you’re ready?
Cold water drips
Of a woman
I barely know
All these questions
With their mouths wide open
I woke up at the darkest part of day. See the soft curls and indentations of your lips, the subtle pop before speaking when you slowly part them, where what you mean is heard the loudest, in the silence of anticipation. We are preparing for the end of the wor(l)d, with the most absurd of things stitched on the most intimate parts of bodies. When you lift up your hands like that: accidental perforations. Responding, but I want to hold (you) when it’s raining like this. Put your palm on mine and feel that strange sensation where nothing belongs to me.
This was possibly one of my favourite days in London (And this is the final installment of my holiday posts): I can’t decide which is lovelier: Primrose Hill during or after the … Continue reading Slow Magic
Everything looks better from high above. While eating peaches, I thought of a line that I would want etched on my skin forever Person, creation or merely a transitional place … Continue reading Brief Lovers
No rush seems to be the way we do things, and Amsterdam is just that: light and easy. Taking a slow and long walk in the morning was my favourite … Continue reading Amsterdam
I’m waiting quite impatiently for my rolls of film to be developed. That way, I can set down to write a little bit more on my Paris and Amsterdam experience. … Continue reading We Own the Sky
How long does it take for something beautiful and inspiring to become completely neglected and redundant? This was how it felt- foreign, but cosy in a strangely familiar way. Cherie’s apartment … Continue reading Living in Rotherhithe
Hot and sunny days like these don’t come by very often in London, even in the summer. It rains too often and we have to check the weather forecast before … Continue reading London (An Overview)
13/2/2012 The heat from the sun form crusts on the table covered with a week’s worth of coffee spills and sleepless nights, the clouds an enclosure casting ambiguous fragments of … Continue reading Adaptation
The lover stroked her calloused hands against my cheek and slumped her body across the bed. Even as we sleep, she sleeps with her eyes open so as not to … Continue reading Lover
I’ve never been this alone. Hours would pass without an inkling of a sound, but my world crumbles irrevocably in noise. It’s as if my thoughts precede me, and watching … Continue reading Noise.