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Written by Koh Ze-Wen

 

this is the anomaly of thought:

 

foreign fingers and foreign smiles

are brighter, sharper,

past the anonymity of a counter

romance lent by distance

of a room bursting with intention

paints camaraderie in manners

domestic in mundane

births ideas

from people

love

from longing

 

a step behind a desk can be

a step up a pedestal

and every statue is a David

if the audience

sees marble in skin

weaves capes from cloth

 

the least trustworthy person you can ever meet

is yourself

and the biggest lies you can ever hear

whisper from familiar lips

(your lips)

but your greatest gift is

your eyes

which see patterns in chaos

your ears

which hear kindness in apathy

your heart

which hopes so brightly, so hard;

it is almost cruel

 

cruel; that the shopkeeper’s smile

was a sale for her paycheck

and not a barter

for yours

cruel; that strangers on a bus

are tired, are sad

and the swiftness of a proffered seat

indicates nothing

past the instincts of the trained

everyone’s planet spins on an axis

and trust me, my dear, the axis

is not you

it is them

you know this; because yours

spins thus,

too.

 

but what is life without lies?

the world is not beautiful

for waterfalls and canopies

of omnipotent design

it is a child’s wonder

a mother’s embrace

a blind man’s sight

humans see warfare;

and think not of gunfire and blood,

but leap:

for dirt-coated fingers in the dust

for a faint heartbeat, in debris

we see friends, family

in dead eyes, shallow breaths

and cry

for the wisp of a thing

that left, left, left,

yet a whisper, in our ribs (the traitors),

says here, here, here—

irrational (real).

we see grass, and sunshine,

and think: friend;

for its tenacity

for the character

it does not possess

the beauty is not in them:

it has always been

always will be

in us.

 

things, in this funny (human) world,

gain names

like moss, on a stone,

wood, we say, must have character

for scientists: lignin, tissues, cellulose

and us, the children; dumb, stubborn, (dreamers,)

wisdom, strength, fortitude

i wish to be a cloud, she says

light— airy— free

my dear, you are already the cloud

it is heavy, and damp, and most importantly:

dead.

the freedom

was crafted by you

a fiction made real from

sheer strength of belief

 

humans are a contradiction.

we watch a world fractured

by volcanoes of vitriol

and earthquakes of uranium

say: this is great!

see: art, knowledge, love

corners of a darkroom

where light has made roots.

(the first rule of photography:

lens lend light.)

later; we watch plains basking under the polestar

penguins dive into cerulean glitter

and in turn, say,

this is not enough.

(it is never enough)

mould towers of steel from clay-formed bones

raise sun-kissed jets with the speed of our fingers

build, assemble, make,

where mother nature has failed.

 

to be human,

is to create.

dissatisfaction our curse

imagination our blessing

give, give, give: the state of our existence

’til we are run empty of our atoms

if not concrete and blood,

then words, thoughts, ideas

droplets of romance

from the kisses of spring rain

tendrils of history

from the beggar’s tired eyes

we fall in love with strangers

for the turn of their smile, the flutter of their lashes

and fall in love with places

for stories we cannot see;

driven by the urge, always,

to make something

of nothing.

 

i do not disagree:

clouds are beautiful.

but let us not forget:

we are the clouds.

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