When Things Don’t Work Out: A Collection of Poems

From our creative writers, Natasha Effendy, Shay Azman and Joey Yap


By Natasha Effendy 


hello? can you hear me?

i’ve been meaning to say something

even if the signal’s not pretty.

i don’t think i can do this anymore. 

i’ve grown tired of the city

where my screams tend to evade me, 

my confessional streams 

poured all over the polished floors 

until i ran out of dreams-

i need a getaway across the seas;

somewhere deep in the country 

where i can still feel a breeze; 

a breath of dying somewhere pretty 

as if i carelessly ripped out a page 

out of my half-written biography 

that takes up too much of my head 

until they all cooperate to collaborate 

into my nameless anthology

but how can i craft such a thing 

when i’m not even dead? 

i’ve stood with a foot

dipped in the cold waters 

of too many premature lakes, 

simply infested with the glossy surface 

that was supposed to make it okay 

if only i swam upwards; limbs outwards

at the sky and its starry, lovely gaze, 

drenched in the drowning sensations 

of being underwhelmed; underwater 

while i choose to be frozen;

preserved in the winter

that anticipates a flowering spring-

lead me to the forests, show me. 

let me listen to the trees. 

i want to be gently cradled 

by the branches that beckon me

to come closer; to kneel down 

before the foundation of the bark

that encircles me with its roots 

that presents me with a pond

to shed my tears upon

but i find no comfort 

in what remains the same. 

i run away in the midst of the 

rising tides and callous landslides,

mummified by the thought of 

my immortality, perpetuated 

in the rock-hard mountains 

where my ashes might lay 

and where the nightmares stay, 

reciprocated by the two sides

of my imbalanced brain- 

i still struggle to fathom

the chipped reality i live in, 

taunted by epiphanies

that break apart sunrises, 

drenching us in the night-times

of a standstill sunset, 

shrouding us in darkness. 

i am reminded once again, 

the relation between my fears,

and how they’ve been tailored,

gifts against my nature. 

hello? can you hear me?

i don’t think i can do this anymore.

can you please take me home?  


Cries of Solitude

By Shay Azman


Lilac stains on your cursive written letters,

dripping sand amongst the countless grains that rest within the hourglass,

window panes cursed with streams of rain splatter, 

nostalgia from the days in the wind and the smell of the grass.

take me back to when we first exchanged names,

oh how i would have cherished it more had i known it wouldn’t last, 

spare me the heartache, tearful nights and dreams of delightful frames,

I’d repent for my sins, ones yet to be made and ones made in the past.  

i stand before a painted copy of us, 

one much bigger than you or i,

it hangs on the walls of our fortress,

tells our tale in perspectives of the sky, 

our portrait paints a life so faultless, 

none could afford to turn a blind eye.

paint strokes had complimented our complexion,

passive colours had shadowed our strange distance,

hateful echoes from our chambers unclasp our true reflection,

architectured attraction had turned into fatal resistance.

i stay awake lying on a bed far too big for one,

i await your promised return,

i keep your secrets hidden from the sun,

As I know too well of how it burns.

They stay awake watching me sleeping sound,

Those amongst me await your promised return,

They do not know you cannot be found,

How could you when i have kept you hidden,

Along with our secrets,

Away from the sun.


And That’s Okay

By Joey Yap


When I was five,

I wanted a set of watercolours,

But I got new colour pencils,

And that’s okay.

When I was ten,

I wanted a pet dog,

But I got a plushie instead,

And that’s okay.

When I was fifteen,

I wanted a pair of heels,

But I got a pair of sneakers,

And that’s okay.

When I was twenty,

I wanted new earrings,

But I got a necklace with a key charm,

And that’s okay.

What I originally wanted,

I did not get,

But I used what I got instead,

And that’s okay.

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