Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Daily footsteps on water (or I ticked my bullet journal today)

I have a pile of New Yorkers

haphazardly splayed on the table

that I have yet to clean

still in their plastic covers.

Some are from last December

It's already this October

and they broadcast a failure

to keep up.

I read what I can

an article a day, maybe two

no small feat when they can run

to 30 closely-written pages.

I have not renewed my subscription

It is too much, just too much

and I have other things to tick off

in my trusty bullet journal

which I cling to

in spite of everything

to let me know that 

I have not allowed the days to pass

unremarked, like footsteps on water.

Did I read a chapter of the book-du-jour?

Hadot's Spiritual Exercises 

or that biography of Van Gogh 

written in the 1950s?

Have I meditated? 

Learnt a few French words and phrases

on Duolingo?

Listened to Deacon Keith Fournier

recite the Bible readings for the day?

With his distinctive panache

on Catholic Online?

Have I cleaned the kitty litter?

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

The one thing 

I don't record

is the hours spent

in front of Netflix 

as my mind atrophies

and I become drooling

and sub-verbal.

(and suddenly it's four in the morning

and I'm working tomorrow!)

Pick myself up

Dust myself up

get back to that list.

start again.

I refuse to be

just another

pandemic casualty.

It's time for

Calm and Tamara  Levitt's

short meditation of the day.

10 minutes.

I can do 10 minutes

What's so hard about 10 minutes

Maybe it will rein in

this slow disintegration

and reverse my attrition.

Later for you.

Monday, October 04, 2021

Worthy of Love

Even as you lay 
on the ground
soaked in vodka
or whisky
or wine
or brandy
or whatever
ethanol you had
just picked up
from the shop 

Even as you lay 
passed out
in the front of that 
tiny hotel
tiny but decent
except for the drunk 
at its doorstep

Even then you 
felt worthy of love
a person
and not a creature
to be pitied 
or shunned.

You cried out
upon waking
demanding a hearer
demanding affection
demanding all that 
had been promised

You never felt unworthy
even as you lay on the ground, twitching
but unashamed.

And eventually
you found someone
who was sweet and forgiving
who married you
and lived with you
for a few years
and who eventually
sent you home
in an urn.

But you remained married
until you died
which is what you intended
and all you ever wanted.

And when I looked on you
with such disgust
and contempt
I didn't know 
that you, even you,
in all your brokenness
lying in your own puddle 
of urine and vomit
had something teach me.

I, who have never felt worthy,
no matter what I did,
no matter how I tried,
no matter what I achieved,

of love. 

Saturday, October 02, 2021


 I leave you behind

our path diverge

And when 

the white noise

dies down

I'm sure there will be sorrow.

For now, there is only

an awareness, an understanding

that you are a part 

of the past

that is being erased

as I sit here

as I type these words

as we speak

or rather

as we don't speak.

The thundering silence 

between us

has crystallised 

into marble.

Cold, pure, white



Goodbye now.

Please forget me.

I don't think we will meet again.

Wednesday, September 08, 2021


One day I woke up
and you were no longer
an enemy
just a stranger
I had no feeling for

in my life.

I smiled
and shrugged
trying to rouse
at least anger
I could always do anger.

But there's nothing there
not even a flicker
and now I know what it means
when they say
you are dead to me.

Because, you truly are.

Buried, encoffined, cremated, ashes,

And as as it is
a time of turmoil
and as I don't agree
with the people 
around me...

I will have to withdraw
build walls
between me
and the people
dear to me
become a hermit
more so than I 
already am.

But not with you
I won't have to
For you are nothing
but a dim memory
someone I used to know?

I don't remember.

There's nothing deader
than a memory
of someone who used to be

Tuesday, June 22, 2021


 I am pre-soaking fruits and nuts to make another fruitcake. I know it's not quite Christmas, but crazy stuff is happening and all bets are off right now. So if I'm going to make fruitcake this year, I figure I had better make it now. That way, I can deliver it to my greatest fruitcake fans, well, with Grab's delivery service. 

I think we all need some magic in our drab drab lives that is absent of wonder.

Right now, the news is so dark that most people shake their can't be happening, it can't be happening, this must be a nightmare, we should wake up, any day soon, any day now...well, it's been more than a year.

So you do what you do. And I'll just go out shopping to buy some pitted prunes so I can make my third batch.

Deliveries to start any time soon.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

Not quite quite

 After two hours in an unmoving jam to make a trip that should have taken 15 minutes, I feel like a mass of raw nerve endings. Tired, irritable, I swerved left and right in anger, sped up when idiots wanted to cut in, honked as loudly as I could for the idiot in front of the traffic light who remained unmoving when it was green because the people in the opposite direction were blocking his way (illegally) and he was too polite to cut in.

In the meantime, Jinny, who was in the back seat, whom I had just taken back from the vet against medical orders because the MCO is about the start tomorrow, who requires injections and a change of dressings on a belly wound that just won't heal, in the meantime Jinny started wailing. And I didn't know if she was hurt or she needed to pee, or if she was just scared. 

I got scared and drove as fast as I could. Cussed out anyone who slowed me down. Cussed and cussed and cussed.

And got home feeling shaky and shivery and not quite quite.

Naturally Boom Boom didn't welcome my youngest with her soft sunflower cone (she has slunk into the cupboard and is asleep among my clothes).

And I get back to find that I have missed Dadda's medical appointment because I was stuck in traffic and there is no way in hell I am going out there again in this crazy rain-maddened Wednesday (I hate Wednesdays, I have hated it since I was a kid and Wednesdays were double Geography, my most hated subject of all). It is the fasting month which means that half the traffic should not have been on the road because they should have been somewhere breaking their fast but the MCO starts tomorrow and everyone needed to get in some last minute shopping, not knowing how bad it was going to be.

There are some 3,744 new infections today and 17 deaths (there were 23 yesterday). The apartment has put up a sign saying there has been a fourth Covid case in the apartment complex and my MySejahtera app tells me that there are 43 cases within 1km of me (I am in a red zone!).

(Boom Boom is outside my door crying piteously, imploring me to let her in; I won't. She is hostile to Jinny now and I need to protect Jinny).

Now I have that slight headache that comes from tension, my body is cold from being in the car in a storm with the air con on full blast (until I smartened up and turned up the temperature) and someone is splitting straws about a standfirst, changing one word, then another, until I want to scream!

I need to heat up some food from Rumahku that we had this afternoon. Dadda and I just had tea and goring pisang but because it took too long to get home, the goring pisang was soggy with old oil and after one tentative bite, Dadda didn't want any more. So I'm full of goring pisang and tired and what I really want to do right now is take a nap.

I want to calm down and for my nerves to stop jangling like a million crickets scratching out their noctural symphony. Creeak Craak Creeak Craak.

Poetry gets made on the fly.

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Leave it smiling

There are times when you meet someone and you look into their tired eyes and notice their brittle, fragile throat and realise...they are dying. They don't know it yet, but maybe, on one level, they do. And so they have stopped clinging to life. 

They open their hands gracefully and give it up. Because the last person who loves them is leaving.

And when nobody remains who loves, who really loves you, what else is there?

I never understood you before. I never understood this before, until my own mother died.

And after navigating the thorny briars of grief and standing still for a long time, I started moving out of it. But life had lost some of its savour that would never be regained.

We could work very hard and ensure that the facade was OK. The externals were taken care of.

But something, something essential was lost.

Maybe it had always been lost, maybe I lost it, we lost it, along the way and didn't notice because there were people there holding us up, so we didn't see.

And now I watch you, quietly receding.

If you've decided to go, I will support you.

But before that, let's celebrate, let's have some fun.

If you're going to leave this life, leave it smiling.