Sunday, November 29, 2015

the bus ride

I depend on public transport for mobility most of the time. The cost of a private car, plus its maintenance is beyond me. So the authorities try to give us a good system of public transport incorporating trains, buses and taxis to keep us from complaining. And they are delivering, as the system is pretty efficient, if you ignore the increasingly frequent train breakdowns and missing taxis during peak hours.

Back in the older days the bus services were not so comfortable, but they still deliver. This poem is about the then and now. And not necessarily about the buses.

pencil sketch by dsnake1

the bus ride

you remembered, don't you
every morning just after dawn
you sent me off at the door
made a checklist because
i was forgetful. ticked off
wallet, keys, pass, fags
then i was off to catch the bus.
it was a damn long ride to work
from Bukit Merah to the east coast
and this was the time before
facebook, PSP games and smart phones
so there was really nothing much
to do except sleep, daydream
look at all the pretty girls
going up and down and yes
look out for the weather because
the buses then had no air-con
and it was no fun having the rain
smacking into your face at 50 mph.

and one day i got so bored
i wrote a poem about a river
because i passed over it
every day in the lurching bus
and it came out in the papers
and you so proudly told
all of your friends but
they were like what the fuck is a poem?
and you so patiently explained
it was what Li Bai or Shakespeare wrote
and they were so in awe of me later
and that was how by being bored
i had my really 15 minutes of fame.

i wish this could have last longer.
the buses are so much better now
nobody drops cigarette ash onto my lap
i ride in cool comfort, so okay some of
my co-passengers are boors but
i have my smart phone with many games
and an ipad with 20 movies in it.
i read poems in the bus instead
and maybe it's hard to get bored now
but sometimes just sometimes i get lonely
looking out of the bus windows
at the light blue sky
thinking of you because
you are no longer
to send me off
every morning
at the door.

written 23/11/2015
revised 27/11/2015

And this is the link to my poem about a river.

As I hummed a tune about the great steppes, my bus arrives, jam-packed as usual.

--dsnake1, jam

Shared on Poetry Pantry #280 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, November 22, 2015


Does an ordinary field of grass look intimidating to you? Maybe yes?

photo / image from


every forgotten field of grass
is linked to another one
by reasons of existence
at times barely demarcated
by a DMZ of muddy path,
the weeds guarding
with their blades
of spear tips
bending with the wind
looking out for their comrades,
the barbed wires of mimosa
waiting to trap


i am the grass
i do not take sides.

-- dsnake1, i am the grass

Shared on Poetry Pantry #279 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, November 15, 2015


when you are tired and on edge, and it is the middle of the night...

photo by hotblack
image from


there was no warning
no sound,
a chill
slithered down
the spine

the night was warm
shadows flirted
with the
gibbous moon

the perimeter
fence was



the metallic click
of the bolt
locking home
was reassuring
as i armed the rifle.


the eyes trying to
the shadows


the fingers snapped
off the safety catch
of the gun


the breathing went laboured
the fingers damp
with sweat

and then
and then

with the moon
a soft breeze
breathing scorn

i knew

the ghosts were not
out there
the demons
were right here

inside the brain

about to breach
the perimeter.


“It's sad when you learn you're not much of a hero.”

Tim O'Brien, If I Die in a Combat Zone: Box Me Up and Ship Me Home

I am not sure if it is okay to post a military themed work so soon after the tragic events in Paris on Friday. But damn it! The attacks prove one thing. It is getting more difficult to protect urban centres of major cities from terrorist attacks. The enemy do not play by conventional rules. They chose any target they like, they do not directly engage the military but attack so called soft targets, like clubs, restaurants, entertainment venues to extract maximum casualties. Security will increasingly be getting more expensive. We will lose a bit more of our privacy. We will get a bit more suspicious and paranoid and vocal. That is the harsh reality we will be forced into. But we will live life as normally as we could.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, November 08, 2015

the ceiling boards are uneven

Nobody likes hospitals.

photo by Alvimann
image from

the ceiling boards are uneven

they wheel you outside
to the operating theatre
lined up in the corridor
like so much cattle
to be slaughtered.

time seems like a
useless commodity. you wait
looking at the rain trees
outside the windows and started
counting the crows

a pretty nurse comes
and peeks under your sheets
ah the urine bag is done
she winks and pulls open
the curtains again.

who wants to be in a hospital
if the doctor hadn't said you're
damn lucky to be still alive?
we do have guardian angels,
remember, they love us.

more masked nurses come
talking like sad songs
the ceiling lights streak past
as they push you in
the wheels nary a sound.

and for a long time since
you call for the bodhisattva's name.


there are sad songs
you should choose better


from “Plastic Sonnet 17” by Caroline Crew

I was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and a recent stay in a hospital). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in painful ways.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, November 01, 2015


From my NaPoWriMo 2012 archives over at my other blog, i write too. Not many eyeballs there.

This poem was the result of a prompt from the oneword site. I hope to be back with something better.

photo by dsnake1


the truth is it can be very noisy in the morning.

for example, i was just grabbing a cup of tea this morning at the coffeeshop, where besides the clink of porcelain cups on saucers, there were the squawks of magpies quarreling, the stray cat at my feet begging for food, looking up with pitiful eyes, a plaintive little meow from its throat, the tirade from the cabby and his friends a few tables away, spewing expletives and coffee vehemently, the rustle of morning papers, the armchair politicians voicing their opinions on national policies, the soap drama running on the tv on the wall, its wash of music and conversation no one was listening. and then a heavy screech of brakes as a van tried to run a red light unsuccessfully at a pedestrian crossing nearby.

so when i left, the cat had already given up on me and was eyeing the magpies intently, not making a sound.


"There are three kinds of people: those who can count and those who cannot."

-- Totally Useless Stuff

Shared on Poetry Pantry #275 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

mother (it's about not giving up)

I cannot forget the day I lost my mother. I was in the ambulance with her, holding her hand, and all I was feeling was just helplessness...

photo by arvydas
image from morguefile

mother (it's about not giving up)

there is pain
in your eyes
hold my hands
hold me tight

outside this
in the
rain drenched

the heartlands
the city
a world going
its living

which you are

the pathetic wail
of the sirens
drowned out
by the babel
of the evening

rush hour
the wipers groaning
on windscreens
tail-lights red
in the rain

make way you bastards
my mother is dying

i could not
look at her
lest she sees
the tears welling
the fear

in my eyes
my mother is dying
and yet all
i am thinking
are the numerals

stenciled on
the oxygen tank
and all the while
the night
is still raining,

the rain drops
on the windows
the air in the cabin

very cold

and still
she was
holding on

while i
all weak
was about to
give up.

written 10.05.2013
revised 09.03.2014

“You don't know who is important to you until you actually lose them.”

Mahatma Gandhi

©cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, October 18, 2015


I wrote this as an exercise in writing a tanka. It was posted in this blog before, but it attracted zero comments. Perhaps no one came across it, so I am re-posting it.

For this work, I am sticking to the 5-7-5-7-7 syllables format, though I used to write this form in less. :)

photo by greyerbaby
image from


what then do i see?
a field of wavering grass
a blue sky of clouds.

but not your face, nor your smile
not today, not tomorrow.


"So close, no matter how far
Couldn't be much more from the heart.."

--Metallica, Nothing Else Matters

Shared on Poetry Pantry #274 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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