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

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? 

National Poetry Month: Echo Edition (Part 2)

All I Can Do

by Jaclyn Heng

This is for the times I’ve had to keep a count of the number of days that went by without me getting whistled at or getting looked up-and-down while walking from my car to the BRT when travelling to college each day. A mere 7-minute walk and yet the Days I Did Not Get Catcalled count never reached a number where I needed more than my own two hands to count. 

This is for the one time I sent a middle-finger to a man whistling at me from a lorry, on a day that I’d had enough. I told my parents about it and immediately got told off for being vulgar, then spent the next week using a different route to college in fear that that same man would come back for revenge. 

But most of all, this is for all you girls out there who don’t even get to feel safe when walking alone on a street. 

This should not be the way we have to live, yet it is. 


Sometimes the happiest moments in our lives are just good music
A drive, a conversation with an old friend
Hot chocolate while it rains.
Nature, as it unfolds before your eyes.
It’s lying on your back watching the sky
Some silence,
Soft, dreamlike moments
that come and slip away
Leaving us stunned, unable to describe how we feel.

Reminiscing Through Hot Chocolate

By Natasha Effendy


the first sip.
this cup of hot chocolate
fills my belly and mouth
with an inevitable warmth,
making me feel so at home.

the second sip.
suddenly burns me
with nostalgia,
reminding me of
the first time i saw you in that cafe,
drinking hot chocolate.

the third sip.
the cocoa powder tastes bitter
across the expanse of my taste buds;
i grimace.
remembering you
makes me reach for the sugar,
but sugarcoating the memories
doesn’t do this drink justice.

the fourth sip.
i dip the cookie
into the creamy surface
but its other half
instantly breaks off.
a symbol of how we parted ways,
snapping my heart in half
with your filthy hands.

the fifth sip.
the hot chocolate
holds a bittersweet resemblance
to your milky brown eyes,
and recalling how they looked
pains me even more.

the last sip.
the final few drops
swims away from the china
and slips down my throat,
leaving my belly burning
with an unspeakable nausea
because my mouth is sour
from our expiry date
and i just can’t seem to stomach
that one memory
of you leaving me.

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