Impressions: On the bus home

The familiar number rushed towards the stop,
So I got up, and got in, hustled, not ushered, 
In, by the late-afternoon commuters – 
Heartland shoppers, market-goers,
Other students, silver retirees,

And me. I always take the upper deck,
When it exists. I climb, 
Steep steps on a steeple,
To sit, and watch the scenery
Or the people.

The two excited primary schoolgirls,
Rattling the day’s best-kept secrets
And rumours, without exception,
Even a furtive glance 
Before leaning forward and
Dropping the volume, for some
Top-Level Stuff.

The somewhat exhausted mother,
And her child, both with
The lingering scent of happiness.
A treasured trip back nonetheless,
The remains of the day to stay,
Foreboding and darkness at bay.

A trio of aged aunties,
Well-advanced,
Slow flowing movements, yet
Avidly conversing in the dialect
Where the educated lads fail
An undying spirit of friendship 
Forged in their search for life, 
That it should consist of 
Such bliss moments.

The trees and the grass perambulate past
In search for more sunlight and life
The people get off, or hurry up
The coaxing hiss of bus doors
Enclosing people in a huge glass tank
Exploding with the rich color 
Of the water of human diversity
That each drop was saturated thoroughly
With the spectrum.

Little fragments of water,
Tiny shards of ice,
Minute drops of the glass, through which
We see and give the world
Our life.

 

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A Day Different

A Day Different

It may be so trivial to anybody else. 
Don’t look so dazed in disbelief,
As if you never had your 
Useless Feuds before. This one
Just happens to be most useless,
At first glance; in actual fact
The ancient stand-off will surely have
Eternal implications for the both of us.

We are battling for space, minute space,
But space nonetheless; the space 
In between us, as we sit fidgety in the chairs
Fazed by the fierce striking heat, yet
Pushing unceasingly for ground. 

The two desks might be separate entities,
But as the genius-in-charge might have it,
They are ever so adjacent, two rotten peas
In a pod, dying to escape the prison, since
My deskmate is a nice guy,

You have to believe me when I say he is so,
He takes up as much space as he can,
Whether unaware as he bores into his work,
Ignoring my pulsating cry for justice,
Elbow thrust firm into the foundations of 
My Space. It is offensively invasive, a crime it must be.

Just some day, I shall no longer cower 
Or quarrel on any fair terms. 
There will just be two things at stake:
His horrendous habit, and 
My Chemistry homework. I used to be kind,
But now as I throw niceties away,
Ripping bare the harsh, harsh brutality
I always had, I will demand 
Absolute Obedience to my will
As stated in a proper contract I shall print.
No strings attached,
It is my space for his copying.
I deal this coup de grâce 
In a saving attempt at my Student Rights,
That this sort of activism
May forever be hailed heroic
In the halls of the canteen
And the corridors of our classrooms.

Don’t Just Love on Fridays

Don’t Just Love on Fridays

Sure, I’m unattached today,
But what else could I say?
Long since I’ve found this shaky ground
Too dangerous for us two.

Maybe in a gondola,
Lazy, whisp’ring viola,
Snap! And all those hopes so tall
Crumble in an instant.

What if we could run real far
Just you and I, the outlying pair
With you swooning in the moonlight
To my luscious serenade
Your eyes tensing into mine
Searching for that unsung line
The gap between us fast disappearing
A rose-lit fire dance quickly starting
As the clouds yearning the night
Your unsure prose giving up fight
And throwing your resolved hands into my grip
Breaths against us, wrapping your hip
In a scarlet embrace of my deepest affections
Turns, morphs, a darkshade and with one crimson action
Engulfs you with cardinal, ruby and flame
Combines us, and to there where we are one name

Snap. But there is one thing that still awaits
Before we could reach that far side.
Here we are, surrounded by busy people
You are standing with your back against the wall
All alone. I’m more like the unsure one. No words 
Fit. Maybe the ‘rose at your doorstep’ is feasible.

Until I stop stammering, I could never
Dance without tripping and flailing my arms,
And until I find some foolish resolve 
To walk up to you, I could never
Display this flair of red inside me,
Specially for you.

Speakeasy #147: Carpet-Grass

There was a time when things were different.
It used to be like the light-hearted sun,
Perambulating up through the clouds,
In a far-removed mountain-cottage,
With the lush of life in full bloom.
Or like the mesmerising lull of the waves,
Collapsing before our feet before sheepishly
Drawing back, just like when
I chased you on the wide carpet grass and you collapsed,
Laughing, and with me beside you, defeated, willingly.
That wandering sigh, as I knew, would escape you,
The wing-searching wind stirring with you.

When did it all diminish?
Like the pollen of the green in your garden,
Held carelessly, and so lost forever to the wind;
Like the rocking boat that delved into a brewing storm,
Calm long gone, the watery grave, your relentless force,
Crashing onto the hull, bleak, tormenting
Me, leaving me helpless
To your irrational temperament.

You just walked past me, avoiding my searching gaze,
Hurried, but still I sensed that deafening silence within you
Threatening to make you drop the act in a single exhale
And to now run to me, looking into my eyes
So we can both read each other like we used to
Break that silence
Not with words – we never did so.
With your hands clasped tightly around my back
Your eyes, softened, defenseless
Just you,
A release
Of hurting tears

I know you will,
But not when.

An Oriental Smörgåsbord (cont’d)

III

The time for tossing has come! 
In traditions from time long past, 
A large plain platter is placed
Taking centre stage on the table;
A careful selection of ingredients 
Laid in distinctly colored clumps
Of carotene-orange and radish-white
Of raw ocean pink; of bright yellow
Each kind clamoring for space.

The honey and cracker are now unleashed,
Sprinkled, drizzled. Then the pepper and cinnamon;
Scattered, sowed in richly hued soil, dust
Of classic spices known for long.

The tossing begins. Every man (and woman) 
To a pair of chopsticks; then rushing, squeezing,
Fighting, even, for a space to poise the utensil
Right above the plate. Some adolescents
See not the top of the yu sheng,
But it’s fine. Then all at once, chopsticks dive right in – 
Huat ah!” and other auspicious hollers 
As elements are brought high above the table
Then flung back in, over and over again, 
Relentlessly, drowned by the prepared phrases,
Each voice a rival to another, as are 
The cramped bodies. 

When it wears out, little plastic bowls are drawn
All take some and go, perhaps being picky – 
The children squabble over crackers – 
And the remaining strands are strewn
All over the table.

 

(not sure if I could think of a part IV… noticed that this time it was more of a descriptive poem, not so personal/subjective.)

An Oriental Smörgåsbord

regarding the nature of Lunar New Year gatherings.

I

Not at a restaurant. Definitely not,
Rather a personal, familial touch 
Someone’s house was chosen,
With a dash of warmth, of course.

The known faces trail in at times
Far spaced apart,
Wondering from the impending dusk 
Outside, to this inner marketplace
That has just opened, what with 
A Potluck of dishes, splayed across the table
Advertisement of a superior culinary skill,
Each to his own chef; but all to gorge 
On everything. 

The variety of the relatives is as great as this,
This flamboyant display of non-green vegetables,
Vague marine cuisine, roasted poultry, food,
By all, for all, and all in all quite splendrous.

II

After eight eternities of rounds after rounds,
As much food is devoured, only then 
Is the table hastily sanctified, purified
Of gastronomical stains.

Everyone is long dispersed, scattered
Around the spaces left for humans:
Engaging in private talk, emitting
Quiet laughs periodically, without request;
Gathering around the story-guy, perhaps
The classic all-too-experienced relative
Eager to retrieve some unforgotten file
Deep in his memory, to expand on it;
Watching an arduously selected programme
Or movie, on a specially large screen.

One could not find it easy to call this group
Related. Let for a few, with blatant traits
Displayed in distinct facial features, no clue
Is given, as to the nature of our ties.
Some shuffle, some tower;
Some babble, some cower
There could only be the rainbow to remain
As worthy competitor, to the spectrum 
Displayed vividly before me.

(other parts to be continued)

Reality: My epilogue and some comments

I initially started posting about virtuality and reality and their respective means of communication because I had some deep concerns and personal understanding of it. I’m glad I managed to express those views in a less abstract way than floating thoughts, for words are impactful and can last. I decide now to close the ‘series’ (lol) with some concluding points and maybe other stuff.

Firstly, as with everything done and every choice made, purpose is critical. Why determines what and how (or should determine). When taking your stand on virtual communication and how you want to let it impact you, your purpose in interacting with others is critical. See past the here-and-now conversations and chats; foresee the raging storm and brace for the wind. It’s really a very versatile topic so I cannot conclude cookie-cutter style for everyone.

Secondly, the discussion will not end here, because this idea of virtual communication is going to be constantly evolving so long as technology evolves. It seemed aeons ago that the first distanced call was made (by Graham Bell I believe). Who would think out of voice calls could spring video conferences? Or out of telegrams spring instant messaging? We could have holograms in the (not-so-far) future; it’s never that far. Therefore I don’t see the importance of this entire topic of virtuality and communication disappearing any time soon. Since that’s the case it’s important we at least give it some, if not centre stage.

Finally, reality. Why not? Until the (literal) Experience Machine is fully functioning I expect we have to come to brutal terms with it (reality). No matter what the argument with virtuality the real gem deserving scrutiny stays as this present existence that starts it all for us. Is there a real need for virtual communication? Who dictates where the line is drawn? You. Us. What are we looking for, and how will we achieve it? It’s no longer about whether we can, since so many choices are offered us. Eventually the key remains in our hand. Furthermore the means affect the end. What we choose (how we balance reality and virtuality) is what we get (the kind of lives we have, in relation to the world and to other people around us).