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verging on the midnight of thirty

Annual birthday post (quite honestly, I really only use this journal for this nowadays. Bit of a shame, really.)





The celebration was a little early this year, but no less meaningful. Thank you, Father, that I am able to celebrate this day. Thank you for my family, and for the friends whom I can consider family. Thank you that I've walked this far, woken up enough mornings, cried enough tears, enjoyed enough happinesses that have guided me to this point. Thank you for the little privileges I've taken for granted, and for the miracles I did not. Thank you for your love, even when I forget.

I pray for a full year ahead, one which I can be proud of, one that walks in Your light more than out of it. I pray for Your hand on the wheel, and for Your everlasting grace. I pray I'll recognize opportunities in my path, and know which ones to seize and which to pass on. I pray for the strength to cherish those whom I love, and the open-mindedness to greet the future friends you will put in my path. I pray for fortitude to be strong when I need to be, but recognize you are my King above all.

Amen.

ジュウガツザクラ (jugatsu-zakura)

You say
“when I was your age - ”
“I remember when - ”
“focus on the important things - ”
“why aren’t you more like -”
Your words are locks clipped to my skin
weights pulling it down
as if to expose the actor behind the screen.
But there is no screen.
There is only me.
But ‘me’ is not what you want, is it?
It’s 'you’.

it hurts.

'It’s worthless.’ 'A waste of time.’
Maybe to you, it is. But
It helps me grow.
It makes me happy.
I like it.
Why aren’t these good enough reasons?

You don’t understand.
You don’t have to understand.
I only need you to accept
that I won’t flourish the way you did
in the time you did
nor how you did.
My adversities are my own.
My mistakes are my own.
The world shifts, the season shifts.
My triumphs are precious, even if they wilt overnight.
My tragedies are not trivial, even if they are as small as
a 2D glitch on a high-resolution monitor
a lost knick-knack
an impossible dream, picked too soon
already dead before it touches the ground.

My successes are not your successes
and my losses are not your losses.
Where were you when I first saw my words
printed for the world to view
a showy display for people to pick apart and ruin
but mine all the same.
Where were you when I cried over that boy
the one you didn’t know about
because you wouldn’t have liked him anyway.
Where were you when -
I can’t remember it now
but I remember you weren’t there.

You mean well but you wouldn’t understand.
I don’t expect you to.
I just need you to know that I’m not you
nor will I ever be you.
The jugatsu-zakura blooms when the others are asleep
but look at how the masses marvel over it in winter.

28!

Spent the majority of my birthday in the airport/plane, and a bit of it in Korea, so I didn't have time to make a proper birthday post as per my usual habit.

Still, I'm in time! Typing this at KLIA at 11.33pm; may edit, we'll see. Thank you God for another year under my belt, and here's to a good 28th year ahead.

Fade

As prompted on Malaysian Writer's FB:
Write a piece of micro-fiction/essay/poem in English or Malay (between 50 to 150 words) CONTAINING ALL of the following words, in no particular order: DARK, APPLE, HEAVY, CANE



The apple of ambition's eye has
rotted; back bent and stooped,
leaning, heavy, on a second-hand cane
from the store down the street.
Where are your words now?
The ones you gilded with fool's gold
have rusted. The curtains have fallen,
and the stage lights are dark with disuse.
They said you can live forever,
but only if someone cares enough
to bury you in their memories.
So tell me: who will remember you?

Inching towards 30

I missed 2014, alas, but I promised myself to post at least once a year on this day, and so, here it is: the annual birthday post of 2015.

Do I feel any different compared to the previous years? Not really, but I guess it'll be another few years before I can properly look back and say 'oh, this was the kind of person I was in my late twenties'. Gosh, I'll be old(er) then.

Lots of things have changed since my last birthday: I'm back in Malaysia, got a job teaching, and life has yet to fully settle down into grooves and potholes and rabbit holes. I laughed, I cried, I wondered if life was worth living, and here I still am, I suppose. A year older, maybe wiser, a step closer.

If anything, even if life runs through its little obstacle course, pushing towards an end that's (hopefully) not in sight yet, let me cling to my faith, family and friends, and to the hope that when I reach 2016, I can look back and think, 'it's been a good year.'

Who might you find you have come from yourself, if you could trace back through the centuries? - Walt Whitman

and now, cake!

love song #2

love song #2;




today, his love on her body
makes it difficult to eat breakfast
(the milk trickles out the corners, but doesn't numb the pain)
last week's love still burns when she straightens her back
the stitches still in from where he put them
untidy, but he's not a doctor.
it's ok. she's used to it.
he loves her, he always tells her afterwards.
he's a good man; everyone says so.
she's really lucky
(everyone says so).
he pays the bills and she takes care of the house
and they are a good family
and she is happy
doesn't it show?
she just can't smile today, because well, it's a bit painful when she does.
but she will smile for you in a day or two, so it's ok.
sometimes, she watches the TV and sees all the unmarred women.
sometimes, she wonders how it must be like to not be loved.
but most of the time, she pities them
because their husbands clearly do not love them enough
not the way hers does her.

We Were Young Once

Look at the pity behind your smile
Your touch too ginger; We are not porcelain
Our bones are weighed down by stories
Our eyes hindered by visions
We've been broken and reforged a hundred times
fractured and remade before you were born
You have forgotten, perhaps never knew
We were young once.

Wehave no time for your disdain; the minutes
are puddles in our footprints
when we first discovered the world and all that came with it.
You don't understand us, yet you press your fingerprints into where
we sunk the imprint of our palms.
We were rebuilding the world before you began to dream
With our hands daring at revolution
We were young once. And oh, how young we were!

Time walked beside us for awhile
and life was dinner socials and whispers under blankets
and forbidden kisses behind the stairs
and angry words and angrier fists
and books and midnight-oil lanterns
and nicotine smoke and acid trips
Life was that long road which end was too far out of sight
(especially when the 'now' mattered so much more.)
But then we stumbled, fell, paused
and before we knew it , Time had gone on ahead.

Save your sympathy; remember
these weighed-down hands changed lives
These sightless eyes recorded history
We shiver with knowledge growing dim
We stutter words learnt, forgotten, learnt again
Remember, please remember
remember when we can't
Remember when we finally cross over, under, past the line in the sand
We were young once.


[Probably due for some editing eventually.]

the invisible sea

We drown amongst trees
fastened to earth and soil and stone
with the lion, with the worm.
We tumble, slow through these weighted debris
listening to the wind rustling the waves above our heads,
the invisible sea.

The wind pulls at our clothes, and we tumble,
but stay fastened to earth and soil and stone
like the lion, like the worm
straining our eyes up towards the surface of the sky
where the wind rustles the waves, churning
the invisible sea.

The birds sing songs of praise
that fade into dirges as they tumble,
down to where we drown amongst trees
moving, slow, through these weighted debris
straining to listen to the waves rustling across the surface of
the invisible sea.

Someday, when I die
and my body sunk into the earth
amongst the lion, amongst the worm,
surely I shall rise to where God is, break the surface
and see finally the waves that rustle across
the invisible sea.


[Done for one of the eco-poetry workshops I attended during the Warwick Book festival; only rediscovered my jotted notes today and after much interpretation of my own handwriting, formed them into this.]

They trickle, eager

It's (as if)
somewhere between the grumpy grey cloud
and the second star to the right
someone's nudged one of those
bargain bags of powdered sugar
off a sky-streaked table.
And so around, around, down
they trickle, eager
pressing a million cold kisses
to cheeks, hair, ankles, arms
any bit of soft skin
as if to leave (just a bit of) sweetness behind.


[First snow seen today! This calls for random verse.]

Quarter of a Century Gone By

"You're a quarter of a century old now!"

So said a friend of mine (cheers, Jou!), before gleefully exulting that I am now the same age as she for a month. And she was right - I have indeed touched 25, that milestone on the way to a hundred. Slowly, I'm getting older, though I'm sceptical of my mind's ageing process in tandem with my body's.

Numbers aside, this is the first time I'm celebrating my birthday away from my family and friends back home. And well, customary practices can't be replicated, certain people can't be met, places can't be gone to. It's different. It's trivially unimportant. It's a strange kind of lonely.

Thank God (literally) for Jou, and later Dinah for having meals with me, and Denise for yakking my ear off online and watching a movie with me late into the night ('Pitch Perfect' was a brilliant choice). And I managed to talk briefly to my mom, pray, thank people for their birthday wishes on Facebook and unwrap belated-Christmas, now-birthday presents. Small things, but enough to chase the solitude away and remind me that there's never such a thing as being alone when you have friends. As Glinda sung it; because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

And so I march, past these fading walls papered with memories and out the gates to meet the big 2-5 head on. Wish me luck, pray for my triumph, and hold my hand through the inevitable falls. Here I go.


“In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on.”
― Robert Frost

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.
― Proverbs 3:5-6




But first, cake.


Also, because this deserves to be archived in this small corner of my internet;Collapse )