Sunday, June 27, 2010


How can I tolerate being obsessed by a man? I doubt my ability to love, to feel passion, to gravitate towards him with the thirst of a lover.

He drives me around, takes me out to dinners and movies. We laze in his bed in silence, or in conversation. I feel comfortable and secure, but yet, I don't love him vehemently, or is this how it's supposed to be? Calm and steady, without the surging waves of emotion? Or perhaps I am just incapable of falling head-over-heels in love with someone, anyone. Or maybe I expect too much: the idealized sentiments in books and poetry. If I expect nothing, will I get nothing? Perhaps I have an intolerance for human blunders that makes loving impossible. Perhaps this, maybe speculations as always, never lead to clarity. My wits are tangled. I feel as if I am caught in a clump of dessicated bushes, getting snagged by brittle branches.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Encounter II


A panting struggle to emerge from between
the starving, thorny, grip.

My eyes are shut.
I've collapsed,
in febrile arrest.




Him breathing
me breathing through a dark, limp net of hair.

"All Undone", says a voice.
Stranded beneath strands,
bruised and tender, not wanting to be unleashed.
Until a hand reaches me
through gentle excavation.

"Open your eyes".
Fluttering lids.
A lost smile.

"Stay that way..."

Pinned beneath
muscled thrusts
Writhing hips.
Wanting. Hating. Struggling.



Still in denial of this consequential tryst.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

But Still

Descent into fragmented eloquence, where I am living the wounds of broken stars, coiled around the most vulnerable me, the slightest slither unnerves me, and I become a paper-thin leaf, shuddering in too strong a wind.

The world is too enormous, to awaken to. I want to grasp you back into sleep with me, to smother you with a lover's clench, to tumble into the tender wisps of our contemplation. But still, how is it that my world is so separate from yours? That longing brings us no closer together? We are faced with each other, but removed from each other. In the hollows of existence, I have not yet encountered you.

Thursday, October 23, 2008


"What do you want to do now that you're done with uni?" he asked as he walked back in from the kitchen with my refilled glass of water. I hadn't seen him in awhile, but I was incapable of estranging him. Even if I lost all memory of him his familiarity would never leave me. We would rediscover each other in a heartbeat.

"I don't know," I replied. "I'm going to leave it to fate and whim."

"Whim?" he replied, cocking his head to one side with a slight smile. I felt tired at the thought of explaining myself, but he was the one who taught me the necessity of not leaving the other lost in my vagueness.

"I'm experiencing a brief interlude of liberty", I said, "and I'm feeling rather spontaneous. Spontaneity can be fickle, hence the whim".

"I don't understand," he replied. "You were always the sort to plan everything, why are you taking the easy way out? Isn't leaving things to chance or fate a little cowardly?" He said those last words insistently. I understood him. He didn't want me to change in anyway. He encountered happiness in the predictability of people.

"I suppose it could be cowardly, but only when you accept things without free will," I said. "I let things impose themselves on me, then I deliberate and intervene only when necessary".

He gave me an incredulous look. "How can you speak about intervening with your own life as if you were an intruder?" He leaned forward with a flash in his eyes. He was easily fired up; easily impassioned. He liked to find a cause in people and it sometimes overwhelmed me.

"It's not that," I responded quietly. "I just don't think life is something you always have to grapple with. Sometimes you go through the pain of creating something new, sometimes you let things happen to you. I feel like letting things happen to me."

"I don't understand your passivity," he said, looking a little dismayed.

"I don't understand your aggression," I echoed. "If you stop looking so much into the future you'd be more present in the present instead of living from one moment of despair to another."

"What makes you think I'm in despair?"

"The constant, restless anticipation of the future doesn't make you feel futile somehow? Like a hamster on a wheel."

"You can't compare me to a hamster," he retorted, but with halfhearted indignation. "Besides, I have ambitions to live for," he continued. "What happened to your aspirations?"

"You have ambitions to live up to you mean. Sometimes we poison ourselves with our self-expectations. I feel so much lighter without them."

"How can you take on any meaning at all without them?" he said vehemently. "Isn't that to say you've given up on yourself?"

"No. It just means I'm more self-forgiving. I still have self-expectations you know, like living an ethical life and such..."I said weakly. I hated how the conversation was taking him further away. It was as if he was trying to convince me of who I really was, and in doing so he was essentially abandoning me.

"But what do you really want?" He asked. "Surely you must have some kind of conviction no matter how abstract to go on living." He sounded almost desperate.

I hesitated. What I urgently felt like telling him seemed silly and insignificant, and much to vague to count for anything. I avoided his eyes. "I just want to be compassionate, whatever that means. I don't want to run out of people to love. If I didn't have somebody to love I wouldn't be able to express myself, and nothing would save me, not writing, not music, not art...I'd be ruined. Nothing else counts for much."

I don't know if he understood me, but he sensed the finality in my voice and remained quiet. It was already evening. The grills on the window were making shadows on the floor. Outside in the garden his dog was barking at some invisible intrusion. I had nothing more to say and got up to leave. At the door he gave me a gentle smile. "Take care of yourself", he said, and I was momentarily ensconced by the warmth of his voice. It moved me to think that he always tried in earnest to understand me, even when I myself had given up.

Monday, October 6, 2008


My sister has changed. Her once shoulder length hair is now cut into a stylish bob. Her lashes are thick with mascara and her large eyes are widened even more by shimmery eye shadow and expertly drawn eyeliner. When dealing with others, she has an almost American-like gregariousness. My sister can be cold-blooded. She doesn't know it, or if she does she can't help it. My sister's dream is to live in a castle with a prince. She tells me this half seriously. She is desperate to find the love of her life. The positive side of vanity is hope. She wants to be a tai tai like my mother. Like my mother whose eyes gleam when she sees diamonds. "Looks like I've earned another one", she says, everytime my father hands her another jewel. She measures her worth in gold and diamonds. My sister is gradually assuming the form of my mother, just like how my mother became like grandmother, who was equally bewitched by wealth.

As younger girls, my sister and I suffered from a debilitating shyness. We were afraid of emitting even a single sound in front of strangers. Our paranoia took on rather absurd dimensions. Instead of singing the national anthem each day at school, we mouthed it. We communicated with other people by nodding or shaking our heads, or not responding at all. We wouldn't even communicate with each other in public except by eye contact. It was almost as if our silence was part of the pact of sisterhood.

I don't know what defines our sisterhood now. Togetherness has been sacrificed for the sake of individuality. It is the past that links us in the present.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Dawn threatened to break. The early morning peace was fragmented by the melodic chirping of some invisible bird. He could feel the crisp, cool air against his skin through the cracked open window. In the seat to his left, the girl was still asleep. Her chest rose and fell to the calm rhythm of her breathing. Deep in slumber, she was unconscious of her own existence; of the automatic persistence of her body, and the serene, vital energy that emanated with each breath. From time to time her eyelids seemed to quiver almost imperceptibly, and her lashes would flutter lightly, as if she were on the verge of awakening. Every movement filled him with anticipation and drove him to the brink of his heart. He waited for slumber to release her.

When he turned back to look at her, he was surprised to find her already awake, and observing him with a steadfast gaze. In subtle ways like this, she was always evading him. Every time he blinked, or glanced away, it seemed as if some small, but essential part of her was slipping through his fingers. " You elude me", he murmured, a slight smile playing at the corners of his lips. The girl sighed heavily, as if in defeat, although it was really him who should be feeling defeat.

"I want to go home. I should be home," the girl said softly. Her voice was still subdued by the heaviness of sleep.

"You are home", he said quietly, not wanting to break the hushed interior of their insular world. The girl looked around her, and recognition flickered in her eyes. They were parked just around the corner of her house. She turned back to look at him, frowning in confusion. "What happened?"

"You feel asleep on the drive home. I couldn't bear to wake you". He became afraid that his impractical explanation would offend her, but she just closed her eyes for a moment and smiled.

"You couldn't bear to let me go you mean". The lightening sky cast an ethereal glow on her face, making her skin seem almost unearthly.

"I should go before my parents notice I'm gone," she said. She turned to face him entirely, but made no move to leave.

"Of course," he said, "I've held you captive long enough".

she gazed at him unblinkingly, and said gravely, "You can't keep me you know".

He had become accustomed to these moments when she confronted him with a deep sense of conviction, and urgency; when she expressed herself in matter-of-fact statements that exacerbated her mystery. Always, there was a glimmer of desperation in her eyes, as if she wanted to make him understand. But she wasn't the sort to elaborate, so he had to ask what she meant.

She hesitated and bit her lip. Her uncertainty always made him feel helpless. He knew she felt imperiled - caught between the safety of silence and the need to be understood. "I don't feel real," she said, "No one can have me because half the time I'm not real, like smoke dissipating within the physical frame of my body. I'm caught behind the obscurity of my own's no good you trying to keep me, or get closer to me. I couldn't get closer to you even if I wanted to."

He didn't know what to say. He feared moments like this when his skill of persuasion failed him. The girl seemed to know this because she wasn't looking at him expectantly. Finally he said: "It's as if you fill the crevices of my existence with some ungraspable force, as if you permeate my emptiness with yours'. Only it isn't really emptiness that you evoke. You're more like a weightless, forgotten creature that I ardently seek to excavate. Sometimes you fill me with my childhood desperation, when yearning was beautiful... You know, when I was little I wanted to be a cloud collector. I thought it was a simple matter of climbing the highest mountains and reaching up to pluck the tufts of clouds, all kinds of clouds - storm clouds, dawn-tinted clouds, clouds that looked like sheep's wool..."

The girl looked at him intently. "You agree with me then? It's no good trying to be with me. I'd only infuriate you without meaning to, and it would be an endless frustration without catharsis, a false promise."

"You don't understand," he said, "it's the impossibility of you that transfixes me. Your transcendence compels me. Perhaps you will forever be beyond my reach, but I'm like you, helplessly caught in the dreamworld".

Monday, August 11, 2008


At times she found herself so deeply lost in the cavern of her being that a single utterance to another human being could leave her drained. Only empathy and compassion permitted her to overcome the alienation. Sometimes these emotions would consume her so completely that she had to fight back tears. Then she could no longer tell the difference between empathy, compassion, and pity. It ailed her to know that the emotional force which so often tied her to a fellow being was sadness.

There are people like her who are made for solitude and shadows, but sometimes the silence becomes frighteningly singular. When the silence starts to ring in your ears, it becomes necessary to fight it with the voice and presence of another human being. But how arduous it was to speak to this other presence with the distillation of who she was - to articulate in quotidian verbiage, the trickle of clarity that dripped so placidly at her core. She felt at her pith, a concentrated radiance that could never emerge. She liked to believe that everyone possessed this same crystalline thread of humanity; that it was just concealed beneath the congealed layers of despondency and human error.

It would startle you, to catch her gaze. Even in daily affairs - ordering food at a restaurant, paying at the cashier's....her eyes do not merely flit across the surface of the other's existence. Her fiercely searching eyes, sometimes forlorn, tend to pierce one with disturbing recognition. She knows that sometimes others mistake her gaze as one of judgment, and so she looks away when she speaks, peers out at you beneath her bangs, but still can't avoid searching for the diamond of luminosity hidden in the other human being.