You remind me of a fable I once read.

I am, in the hands of a wanderer,
a first attempt at sparing a woman
from fishing ceaselessly for the moon.
He casts me into the lake.

I break the silence
amongst crossing bodies:
the woman, the water,
the moon’s reflection.

I sink after skipping across the lake’s surface.
I see this scene from the lakebed:
her hands grab for the mirrored moon. It gleams
untouched from its vantage above.

A net cast into the water then pulled back
catches nothing. I wait here
knowing I will erode into these waters.
Perhaps I could have saved her instead.

She goes by the name Jovia.

I let you fix me to what is real—
clarity, sanity, sobriety. Yet
the more I know you, the less I feel.

You are mere micrograms prescribed, unsealed,
then painlessly swallowed. Sometimes I regret
letting you fix me to what is real.

Night falls and again you come to steal
away whatever passions I managed to have kept.
The more I know you, the less I feel.

With you in an instant I thought I’d heal—
that at once you could return to me the I who was set
aside. Instead I let you fix me to what is real.

I used to turn to bottles, to some twenty sticks concealed
in the corner of my bedroom. You are smaller but more potent.
The more I know you, the less I feel.

Keep coming back to me. Maybe one day you will
help me abandon all substances, become my new subject.
Until then, fix me to what is real
because the more I know you, the less I need to fear.


Some children get to know their grandparents by having conversations with them. Other children get to know their grandparents by listening to conversations about them. Some children grow up with what their grandparents tell them before bedtime or over dinner. Other children reach the point when such stories can never be told again. Some children find out who their grandparents really are through narratives interlaced with anecdotes and undercover emotions. Other children cease knowing their grandparents, at least beyond their own memories.

Some children can vividly recollect the times they spent with their departed grandmothers or grandfathers. I, unlike these children, have few firsthand memories of my late “Nana” in my possession.

Check out the rest of this essay from pages 218 up to 224 here in Stache Magazine’s 3rd anniversary / December 2013 issue ].

Happy Hour

A bartender pours another round of shots as a gunman prepares for the kill. He’s loading his rifle. He’s lining up his ammunition—rows and rows of glowing, multicolored bullets designed for sober targets. He eyes his next mark: one among the crowd around the counter. More often than not, he knows exactly where to hit them.

Cheers. Clink. Bang.

And so the bartender, a ruthless gunslinger, awaits the impact.

Several tequila based chasers later, your drinking comrades have fallen. You see the bartender grinning. You’re the last man standing. He fires another round of El Hombre—more like El Diablo—tequila. Liquid flame goes down your throat. The shot’s been taken. You realize too late that you were a target.


Continue reading


If there’s a way to recover lost dreams—

the city lights that, in their cacophony, accompanied a waltz through imagined streets; the fuel tank millilitres away from being empty; the evening train with two faded trunks in a reserved cabin; the anywhere pieced together by a dormant escapist; the imagined you, a lost traveller in the boundlessness of my subconscious; the part of me that goes missing as every morning comes

—let me know.


Here comes another hour and a half of putting meaning into signs and digits. These numbers make me dizzy. They rearrange themselves when they ought to be fixed markings on paper or a screen. There’s a chain of (zeros) wrapping itself around my throat. I choke on absent substance. I suffocate in between the positives and negatives. I’m impaled by a spike made only for (one). Isn’t it curious how (two) when inverted and juxtaposed to its original is a heart on a stage? (Three) is a broken butterfly’s wing, detached from both its body and its symmetrical partner. (Four) is a room on a stilt. Please, so I can once more jump into the unknown and undefined, let me out of here.


NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 14: Write a poem that relates to a superhero or supervillain.
NaPoWriMo 2013, Day 15: Write a pantun.

We’re dizzied by the abundance of green
blurring behind as we speed through the streets.
We’ve stopped for a breather in a place unseen.
“Be alone with me,” I speak through heartbeats.