memory, National Service, Poetry

Thank you for your service

In the half-light before dawn, Seventeen years before you were born, Boys stood half-waked on a parade square A hundred conscripts gathered there. One by one, to each in turn, Gun-metal was given, assigned to learn The ways to maim, to shoot, to kill All extensions of a nation's will. Then, as I cradled plastic… Continue reading Thank you for your service

memory, Poetry

present perfect

Let the past be because it can never be. Your mistakes have spoken hoarse my mistakes have replied. Turning back the clock breaks the mechanism inside. Background: I was sitting on a boat, travelling to Pulau Ubin, a small island north of the mainland of Singapore where my students were having a camp in the… Continue reading present perfect

Childhood, family, memory

Tracing an outline

It collects in pockets, on the edge of photo frames, the sediment of sentimentality. It gathers in the stillness of breath waiting for your finger, to trace an outline. Cleaning is an exercise in utility, every obliteration a momentary rejuvenation time-travelling back to before we were old, to before there was just dust.   Background:… Continue reading Tracing an outline