For archiving purposes, I present my spwm poems from 2019 in their unedited glory.
BAKU, DON’T EAT MY HOPES AND DREAMS
// I did some rudimentary googling because I’ve been having recurring nightmares of the same theme and if a monster can eat them up, that’ll be great.
So Baku, the Japanese monster, is my new friend. But you can’t call on him too much ’cause otherwise he’ll start feasting on your hopes if he’s still hungry. //
he only comes when I’m asleep
hiding his tusks behind a sly grin
his trunk doesn’t seem useful for dream eating,
neither does his mane
he says he specialises in nightmares
they’re tastier than an average dream
he crouches in the abyss to get a lick
of epic plots and fractured hearts
of anxious meetings and dwindling rooms
of the pit I’m left with if he doesn’t eat
Can I Buy Some Social Credit?
They watch my every move
What I buy, what I taste,
Who I date, what I drink
If my front yard is dirty
Five points will be deducted
If I own assets, cars, houses
Comments I make online
What I say within earshot
Someone’s always taking notes
They know what I’m wearing
Red shirt, blue jeans
yellow cardigan — what is green?
They say I’ve been blacklisted
I can’t buy another plane ticket
Or take the express train
I earn points for the ones in my household
too old or too young to understand
Labouring for just enough to keep us afloat
snow in november
trees of steel glass line streets
brown bricks glue apartments together
subway lines build outwards not above ground
hasten my steps click clack keep up go
slip on ice between pavements of snow
breathe wafts of dough cheese tomatoes
hearts patter new office 15th floor
people talk laugh joke find new family
sit in circles stand in lines speak in silos
pretend scarf is air catch meaning from nothing
i find comfort take pictures scribble notes
cross the street follow smell of turmeric
wait for mayo hot sauce sriracha yoghurt
over lamb over rice over chicken over rice over
not sure what I’m trying to do by not using “ing” and taking out “the” but does it make it more uncomfortable to read lul
just tryna hit 30 things to write this month
of all the things she may have regretted
she stole a pink notebook the size of her palm, hoped the bookshop auntie missed her crime. two one dollar coins in her pocket jingled, guilty as charged.
she hid storybooks behind textbooks, pretended to study about right angles and condensation. she thought she digested them all, and she was right, so despite her mother’s nagging, she never studied them again.
she lied about forgetting her homework — mathematics isn’t a subject she understood anymore. she cried, not knowing if it was guilt or if she needed to put on a show her teacher would believe.
she went out with a boy who told her not to fall in love with him. after that, she wanted — no, needed — to know every boy’s reason because she couldn’t just let silence be the whole answer — what a waste of her time.
she stayed in that relationship — the one that ate at bits of her soul — over and over again though it had been over many times before. she always said love was an action but she didn’t know inaction was indifference, and pressure overcooked her.
idk if I ended this right.
Also I got caught for stealing. It was scary, idk why I did it when I could buy it. Kids, don’t steal.
this ritual will give you your heart’s desire
but it can’t find what your heart desires
move your table away from the windows
always sleep facing the morning sun
tilt your front door at a slight angle
— yes, just like that — now build a ramp
why a ramp? don’t ask questions
now, pick your favourite fruit
scoop out the insides, juice and flesh
chew the part that can’t be eaten
some seeds, some stems, some roots
mix with saliva and spit them out
the taste of them will grow tendrons
crush these saplings before they twist your veins
find a spot where light never touched
take the chewed up spit in a glass jar
seal it with black tape and superglue
place it right between the shadow and light
How do I show that rituals don’t work?
“tendrons” according to the internet is an old middle english word meaning sprouts and I’m not sure if I should leave that in
also I wanted to add in a list of stuff your heart maybe desires at the end but right now it’s like:
so tell me — is it a new novel with new words?
a different life? meaning in your day to day?
better money management? becoming marie kondo?
some guy to reply? your last heartbreak’s influence to end?
… and they all sound terrible to me so I’m not sure how I can add the idea of that in
不羡白玉杯 (don’t envy the white jade cup)*
the wind blew a lone dead leaf in his pot
but they still brought the brown water to him
called him medicine king, consuming herbs
and poison; playing a game of chance
centuries later, honeyed words steeped
in sour bergamot and black leaves
reached the back of my lungs; my nose wrinkled
before I even took a sip of the earl
grey tea? I should have known that scent anywhere —
no matter how much lavender is in my cup
the citrus still rises
keeping bitter notes behind dried flowers
that honeyed words won’t mask
So this guy in China called Shen Nong supposedly ate a bunch of stuff to figure out what was good / bad for you and I tried to tie it into what I’ve been feeling.
Poetry is hard. I am more of a prose person but I will try and try again.
*Title is from this poem from this other guy in China called Lu Yu (陆羽) who wrote The Classic of Tea.
They Juggled With Fire on a School Night
for my fifteenth birthday a year before
my aunt bought me a glimmer in my eye
the other girls had tried lipstick and blush
but I didn’t — lip gloss glazed on my lips
sticking to my teeth, smelling like cherries
so that night, when there was a performance
I brought my glimmer out, hoping to shine
my friends breathed fire, I have the pictures
yet the pictures don’t say a single word
about why we were playing with fire
did alumni return, one night only?
who was in that bathroom on the first floor?
who knocked into me — friends or enemies?
why did the glimmer dissolve into tears
as colours broke into a bloom of dust
eyeshadow palette hitting bathroom floor?
Memories are pretty hazy. Even though I have filled diaries and blogspots full of them I wanted to try to remember something about secondary school without them.
… and now I am technically two days behind.
(I wanted to write an elegy but I couldn’t figure it out so then I decided it could be a sonnet but this is what I got.)
I still have an old story that you wrote
hidden in my twenty-fourteen downloads
a soldier saved his dying friend, I note
in the story, he didn’t break the code —
He left no man behind; you asked to meet
said I was too much on Bishan’s rooftops
you left, leaving our friendship between streets
in the silence after, I chose to stop
Except words hung as I tried to catch them
What do I say to you, no longer friend
I thought you knew me well — it was not time
So find another project to befriend
Said I was improper, wow what a slight
For you who valued honour, what a side
What is poetry.
The Friendship Prompt
call it by its name
when he told me he understood but he kept on going
I told myself it was okay, that this was what love meant
love meant to tear myself open over and over again
to let someone see my outsides, to see what’s pretty
to hear his voice softly tell me how much he loved
only parts of me, over and over again, ask how much I loved
him — as much as flowers fill the field — over and over,
I told him I saw him but I didn’t see myself — over; tracing
alphabets on the back of his hand with my finger — over; feeling
like crying is the stupidest thing in the world — over; asking
“are you going to stay?” yet knowing how much I’m worth — over; ashes
to ashes, dust to dust; the petals will fall on the Earth
time has slipped into the ether and yet, and yet
what is over when at night he visits in nightmares I recall
what it’s like to shrink into myself so he grows taller
It’s not today’s prompt but I’m catching up on #backlog and I wonder if I can post today’s one super late in the night along with day 10 as well so I don’t clash with anyone else’s beautiful poems.
Side note the quotes from words I wrote during this whole relationship. (Edit: Now that I removed the quotation marks, this comment makes no sense.)
Why You No Like Soon Kueh
(with apologies to Teochews… I love Teochew Porridge and also your Soon Kueh please don’t hate me.)
I have to say I’m a little bit offended
Soon Kueh is a Hakka dish, you know
“Okay, Google” tells me Soon Kueh is Teochew
But Soon Kueh is Soon Ban in Hakka, you know
we put a little yam in our superior skin some more
(thinner, chewier, less oily, more translucent)
I tell you ah, it’s way better — hmm? What?
Okay lah, you don’t like yam either — aiyo, how can
I didn’t like Orh Nee when I first tried it either
(who am I kidding, I don’t like Orh Nee even now)
all these Teochew recipes making yam way too
sweet, do they dump it in sugar — how can like that
Yam is best when you make Suan Pan Zi
Hot yam steamed and mixed with tapioca flour
made into little circles, guaranteed to teach you math
(that’s why we Hakka call them abacus seeds)
Fried with minced pork, black fungus (you dun like one lah),
Chinese mushrooms, dried squid, yellow beancurd and Hei Bi
Topped with the “leafy missionary,
soup’s toupee, nature’s bouquet” —
Okay no I have to draw the line
Cannot lah Xiang Cai. Don’t top my dish can.
So I still haven’t done Day 10/11’s prompt but I had to reply to Cephas Tham YQ (yam), Rachel Tan Shiying (soon kueh), Choy Siew Fong (black fungus) because how can this beeeeee. #WhyYouNoLikeBonus (Read their odes!)
Also Valen Lim I do hate cilantro.
Teochew / Hakka – Chinese dialects
Soon Kueh / Soon Ban – how to explain what this is
Orh Nee – yam dessert
Suan Pan Zi – Hakka Abacus
Hei Bi – dried shrimps
Xiang Cai – Cilantro
#spwm19day12 #georgiaho #plscrit The Cookhouse Prompt
How True Neutral Exists
She spots a flash of wings in her peripheral vision so she leaves honey, bread, and birdseeds as devotion. Sometimes they stand tall as trees in the woods, other times they send waves of magic in her bones.
She knows them to be true, illusionary spirits documented in the Daemonologie written by King James himself. They were demoted angels, butterflies, minor deities, and elementals all at once. No one knew from whence they came, but they knew never to cross them.
They were stuck in between — not good enough to be angels, not bad enough to be demons. Shrinking smaller than a ladybug, growing bigger than a humanoid. They serve no one and nothing except themselves.
She’s certain you won’t want to be on their bad side. Once they made the fisherwife of Palermo fly on goats when she was only eight. Another time, they gave a man cramps for knocking into them even though they couldn’t be seen.
+ there are a lot of people who still believe in fairies.
+ also there are so many theories about fairies’ origins omg I want to dive into the history so bad.
+ the fisherwife thing is… so strange on Wikipedia.
The CryptoZoo Prompt
My Sugar Level is 30%
I stand between aisles of makeup everyday after school. My friend jokes that she can always find me there. I’m looking but not buying anything — can’t afford makeup when I’m 15. I get champagne grape red tea with pearls. They don’t ask me about the sugar levels. I don’t think they know that’s a thing yet.
We have chicken rice or fries for lunch, sometimes both. There’s a waffle place that not only sells old school waffles with peanut butter and coconut shavings, but also the best bee hoon $1.50 can buy. I don’t even like bee hoon, but I buy it for lunch sometimes.
We’re never on the 2nd floor — that’s where the music schools and tuition centres are and we do enough learning in school already. I hang around the dvd rental places and splurge on rentals sometimes. I bring a few home and watch movies on my laptop. My dad refuses to get us actual working wifi, so this is how I entertain myself.
I’m not sure what it’s like now. I don’t look at makeup under that green sign anymore. I no longer rent dvds. The waffles place no longer exists, but I still bought bubble tea the other day. They ask me for sugar levels now.
I tell them, “30%.”
this is… not a poem LOL.
The Life Is Not Complete Without Prompt