we were never best friends


Four years ago,
I wrote a composition
About a girl who had, for a year,
been my best friend
And who had taken only a day to stray.
I gave it to my English teacher
and she gave me 85%.

I saw her again
In the same neighbourhood we grew up in
Through the same glasses I cried in
With the same girl she’d replaced me with.
She herself was different;
Fresh home from America, where she’d spent the last four years
Her face was caked white
And her eyes puffy from an overdose of contact lenses
I did not recognise her at first.

Suddenly it became an unlikely triangle
Of people who had not seen each other for years
And who learned to get used to it
An awkward triangle with vertices that did not quite fit;
Friendly banter was thrust upon me
With the force of a thousand horses marching into war
With the grace of an Asian girl turned white
To their credit, they all joined in
Like artisans at a playing table, throwing out a line
To keep the game moving.
Experts they were, at the game they did not even realise
Was happening
Because they had come to define it as “friendliness”.
When the turn landed on me,
my hand was dreadful; I, a mere beginner.

The friend said “I have a card for you before you leave” and
I watched from a million miles away
As the conversation went out without me
As if it were the most natural thing in the world
I stood there, eyes drifting, silenced, waiting

And I think of possibilities now,
Cards I should have played,
Points I should’ve earned.
“When did you get back? How’s America?
How long are you staying for?”
But feigned interest is something in witchcraft
That I have not mastered.
I look at her and all I can think of
Are the Neoprints she still owes me from 3 years ago,
Back from her first trip home.
The Neoprints that were probably thrown out
years ago.

“The last time you saw her was…four years ago?”
And I could tell the truth but I hold my tongue;
The dying remnants of our acknowledgement
of each other’s existence
Cannot be salvaged by forced, one-way friendship
on my part
And I watch it fade.

Four years ago,
I wrote a composition
About a girl who had, for a year,
been my best friend
And who had taken only a day to stray.
I gave it to my English teacher
and she gave me 85%.

I will go to sleep
And when I wake up,
I won’t even remember seeing her.
And maybe I’ll finally let myself know
We weren’t peas of the same pod
That I was only a make-do choice,
And that she was waiting on someone better.
And I’ll let myself do the same.

{written on 1 August ’14}

you + me = ?

{click image for the source}

As an addition to your life I was nothing more than a contamination; air licking the inside of a jar of alkali metals, salt in a tube of acid. I was like the dirt ingrained into once-golden coins, by the hands of sweaty men frying noodles with towels around their necks. For some reason I have always known that I never complemented you and was never meant to. I wish I could say, ‘I ruined you’, but I was always the dirt under your fingernails, the dust you wash off in the shower, never leaving anything substantial but always returning for seconds. The dip I left in your mattress did not make you miss me, it only made it slightly more difficult to sleep at night. My head did not match the curve of your neck. Rather than leaving scars of ‘I miss you’, I left a litter of bruises than healed with time and disappeared like they had never been there.

You may brag that you are fine with or without me, but I will never have the same privilege.

close call


your words echo off the creaky ceiling fan, the empty drink cartons, the walls of peeling paint. you stretch your hand out, beckoning. reaching for something. reaching for someone. they turn around–

you stare at her across the table, her face between the pages of a book and her eyes nowhere near yours. your hands are by your side. your words are only thoughts. the fan is deafeningly loud and your body has become merely a shell of heartache and heartbreak that has grown all too accustomed to the feeling and the girl across the table, who lives four houses down and whose favorite flavor is chocolate chip dough will never know that you love her.

you heave a sigh of relief.

this may be an apology letter

I am convinced I only love you because you loved me first. what do I do when this ends? What happens when I look into your eyes and stop seeing my own reflection? When you laugh but it no longer sounds inviting? This is not a tall stone statue in your backyard, destined to stand for generations. this is a bird. will it, fragile and small, break in my hands? Will I feel the sharp shards of a love once had or nothing at all? I am so sorry. I am so, so sorry. I want to love you forever, the kind you compare to stars and cosmos and boundless things, with growing passion every day, but one day when you stop loving me, I suppose I’ll stop loving you too.

she was a bubble

curly, blond hair,
bright, grey eyes
with just enough love for life
and enthusiasm for love

they said she was bubbly,
so you took her and injected her into your blood
you sank down into your desk chair,
needle in hand, shaking
adam’s apple bobbing uncertainly

she was stuck in your veins.

was the one minute rush of adrenaline worth it?
when you dropped, devoid of life,
with her stuck in your chest?

the restorer of old bones

Your bones creak like old,
abandoned houses and it has
always been my first instinct
to explore them. My mother
always said that I was never
good at making the right
choices, but she doesn’t
realize that this isn’t a forked
path; it’s a convergent one.
Everything seems to lead to
you, and I’m sure if I’m
obsessed or just a mess.

You should know better than to
trust a girl who tries to find a
home in haunted houses. When
the furniture has been removed
and the paint begins to peel,
that’s when you’ll find me. When
the sky grows dark and the
shadows grow long, that’s when
you’ll find me. In the darkest
hour of the morning, following
the hallway to the leaking tap,
that’s when you’ll find me.

I’ve always been drawn to
devastation and decay.
Abandoned houses are a life
sized self-portrait. I will re-paint
the chipping walls. I will dust the
shelves and sweep the floors. I
will move in my own furniture
and leave the lights switched on
at night. I will fill the house with
music and laughter and love
once again. I will not let your
bones grow cold. I will not let
myself grow cold.

When you wake up and find
me sitting in the spaces where
your rib cage doesn’t
completely cover, I hope to God
that you’ll find it hard to

(written on 19 march ’14)

unspoken words (story version)

She sat on her bed, the laptop warming the mess of her bare legs and tangled blanket, her ears quickly becoming aware of the only sounds in the unlit room; her mother’s light snoring, the leaves of the tree outside her window blowing in the breeze, and the occasional click of her wireless mouse. Quiet nights often lulled her to sleep; sometimes she fell asleep next to her laptop. And this would have been one of those nights – hair tucked behind her ears, already in her night clothes, the grandfather clock downstairs striking 11 o’ clock to remind her of the land of dreams. That was until her idle exploration of Twitter led her onto his profile, and from the display picture she saw a face she hadn’t seen in three years and hadn’t imagined she would see once again – his. She could see how his face had changed over the last three years, and it felt unreal to see updates from his life from just eight hours ago, when her last memory of him had been from three years back. But she remembers the messages exchanged.

He was lying in bed, thick sleeves reaching the wrists of his long arms and his feet propped up on the bed frame, not by choice but by length constraints. The sky was dark and cloudless outside his window, and the thunder rumbling softly but surely suggested coming rain. Having told his good nights to his parents and two sisters, he turned on his side, preparing to switch his bedside lamp off. He would’ve done so, and he would have fallen asleep almost immediately and slept soundly through the night, if his eyes hadn’t wandered to a dusty photograph that was sitting on his top shelf. It was one of the very few photos he kept of his primary school days – of him grinning and posing for the camera in his sports shirt with his newly attained gold medal from Sports Day, the last year he attended it before graduating. He could picture, once again, his friends and classmates that came up to him and congratulated him, and how he would thank them quickly and feel embarrassed by the attention. Truthfully, there had only been one person he had been waiting for to congratulate him, but she never approached him, and only left her congratulations in the inbox of his phone. But that had been enough for him. Texting had always been the most they could communicate by, besides instant messaging, though he never understood why. And once he started thinking about her again, his brain jolted awake, and the memories came in like waves in high tide. He could only wonder how her life had been the past few years, because he didn’t have a clue how to begin looking for her again, and every form of keeping in touch with her had either been shut down or lost to the wind. But he remembers lying on this very bed, and how wishing her good night was an everyday occurrence.

Twelve had been a weird age for most; puberty suddenly kicking in, worrying about who liked you and who didn’t, and always trying to keep up with who-liked-who in class. That had been what twelve was like for her; growing 5cm and using her sarcastic wit to add humour to her conversations. Her band of friends was small and close-knit; other classmates had their own circles, and they were like planets co-existing but never really interacting. That was how it worked in their class. All her friends were friends with each other, and that was that. But there was one boy who defied the norm, whether he realized it or not. She knew it from the first day when he reached out to her through the cyberspace empire that was Facebook, asking for her e-mail address, coolly adding that he was asking everyone he knew for their addresses, too. Surprised, but thinking of it as nothing more, she gave it to him.

The start of their friendship is a blur of events arranged on his memory timeline haphazardly; but he recalls how he went on Facebook adding all his friends after finally discovering the work of art that was MSN, and how afterwards he bashfully approached a few of his classmates he didn’t really know but didn’t really mind talking to. She had been one of them – the girl who kept to herself and her friends, and spent class time doodling or paying attention. He never had a chance to be near her, let alone find a conversation topic. But he found quiet people interesting, as a break from his loud and rowdy friends.

Everyone used MSN. Everyone around her age that she knew of, at least. Classmates, cousins, and any person she met from elsewhere – they all had e-mail addresses and MSN accounts. She would be online every afternoon while playing Facebook games until dinner, and occasionally they would converse via MSN, which helped where actual conversation failed. She can close her eyes and still visualise the same shade of blue that he used for his words, and how they would ‘play’ bowling and rock, paper, scissors – strange, considering she cannot remember what they would talk about. MSN seemed to provide enough entertainment to fuel conversation where words lacked, and for that she was grateful.

He would talk to her on the more quiet afternoons, when he was free enough to maintain decent conversation. She didn’t stick with one single colour, but he cannot remember what colours she used. Their conversations were long, but he doesn’t remember what they would talk about. Maybe they just talked about school. Maybe just literally anything.  He’d like to remember it as the latter. Falling in love was a surreal and grown up thing to him, but he fell as far as he possibly could. There must have been something to describe the automatic smile that lit up his face when she came near. Something to describe his feelings when he found personal hand drawn comics sitting on his classroom table in the morning.

It was called a crush. It was called a crush because it would only crush you, the proverbial saying went. Who would possibly fall in like with a girl that spent her afternoons drawing ugly comics and wore gold glasses? Certainly not the boy who thought she “radiated happiness” and waited patiently for her to finish her two hours swimming lessons on Saturdays. Certainly not the boy who found his eyes wandering from conversations with people he thought were the most beloved. Certainly not the boy who spent almost every waking minute texting her.

Parents became angry. Limits were enforced. Look at these phone bills! Mothers scream. Five messages a day. They grew shorter, quieter, until they almost disappear and he changed his number and they graduated from school. If there was anything to describe that split second where my fingers almost brushed yours and you tried to grip my hand and I fell from heaven into earth, I would tell you in a heartbeat.

But now we live in separate worlds.

(written from 2 september ’13 to 17 march ’14)
the poem version: http://floatingangels.wordpress.com/2013/08/31/unspoken-words/

living ghosts


A woman emerges, clipboard in
hand, glasses perched on the tip
of her nose, focused. Your mother
stands abruptly, pulling you up.
What’s wrong with my son,
doctor? she pleads with grey eyes
the colour of desperate, helpless
oceans who cannot control their
storms. She looks up from a
clipboard. Your hand clutches
your chest, as if someone poured
cement down your throat and
filled you like an empty bottle.
She looks at you.

I’m sorry to have to break the
news to you, she starts. We could
only find hollow space in the
area between your lungs and
ribcage where your heart should
be. Your lungs have been
overworking just to keep you
alive. Your blood vessels are
on the brink of imploding.
You’ve been functioning on
virtually nothing. Your mother
chokes. She puts a hand on your
shoulders, but it passes right
through. She gropes for
something, anything. But

You have become nothing,
because you never were
anything. You died at birth.
The only thing that fueled
your existence was your
parents’ deep, aching longing
for a child. But now she has
returned to the earth- (the
human body of your mother
beside you decomposes
rapidly) and your father is
long gone. Your time here is
over. You begin your end.

(written on 17 march ’14)

one part words, two parts longing

Dedicated to the mothball filled winter coats in the back of your closet that have forgotten the feeling of your skin.

I’m droopy-eyed, lying sideways
on my couch. The light above my
head is the only one still switched
on in my house. It clings
desperately to the dust-covered
photo frames lying in the dark and
out into the darkness of the street.

Dust particles dance in the air and
they remind me of the snow that
is probably brushing against your
face. I miss you;

I’m not sure if this a letter to you;
it’s been too long since I
remembered how to type soberly.
It’s been too long since I felt sober.
The clock is telling me one in the
morning but I can’t remember the
concept of time and space and

What’s the point of knowing how
to tell time if all I know is that it’s
running out? What’s the meaning
of knowing distance if it means I
know exactly how far away you
are from me? I have a hurricane
in my head and a hole in my heart;

Sometimes, deep into the night, I
realize that commitments and
responsibilities exist for the sole
purpose of buying time. Someone
in my head is just waiting to set off
a bomb. I have come to know how
truly horrifying the mind can be
when it’s empty.

I need distractions like I have an
addiction; I need people to devote
my time to, things to do, spaces to
fill and things to fill me. The human
mind is a black hole waiting to
appear – please give me something
worth fighting for. There is nothing
in this house but the sound of a fan
spinning and a pipe leaking; No rain.
No pathetic fallacy to add on to

My life is nothing like a movie nor
will it ever be. It is 1am and I am
scratching my arms from the
summer heat; There is nothing
romantic in this. I just miss you.

It is at times like this that your
chest seems infinitely softer than
my pillows; your arm much
warmer than my blanket. It is at a
time like this that I remember
falling asleep to the sound of air
circulating at 20 degrees celsius,
your arms draped across my
waist, your head still against the
headboard. I remember waking
up two hours later, to the sight
of your black-framed glasses
drooping off your nose. And I
was content to lie in your
embrace, content to feel loved
and safe in that tiny room,
at 20 degrees, cold outside
but warm inside.

(written on 17 march)
{say something – a great big world ft. christina aguilera}