Sunday, August 23, 2015


It is almost coming to the mid point of the Chinese 7th month, better known as the Ghost Month.  So I think it's quite appropriate to re-post this poem. :)

photo by dsnake1, image manipulated with xero


it used to lurk
behind curtains
silent, still
till a breeze
stirs the cloth
you thought
you saw it
long straight hair
slant eyes
pallor of wax
but then there's
those flapping cloth


it's just the eyes
that were too tired
so now
my windows
have no curtains

it glides past
the window
on the corridor
a hesitant shadow
a dark patch
on frosted glass
while i am
killing demons
in a video game
or trying to type
some poetry like this
i expect the clump
or clip-clop
of heels on concrete
that will be
my neighbour
back from clubbing
there is no sound
only the hissing
from the tv
through air
that had




"I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

Shared on Poetry Pantry #266 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

in a blog spot

Urban Poems is ... 10 years old. And that's a long time in the cyberworld.

And what was my first post?

in a Blog spot

excuse me.
totally lost.

feeling my way around.

no wonder there were no comments. :)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

not off to a good start

Playing with strikethroughs. I think it's quite fun.

photo by krosseel
image from

not off to a good start

when mother came to send me off on my first day of the ns army enlistment, she was almost crying. i said, "don't worry, i promise to write dun worry lah, i will call back, okay?". i heard you have to wait ages maybe an hour or so for your turn at the only payphone in the camp, and then to utter a few words like "the food sucks" or "you won't recognize your son, me." that might worry her a bit majorly but it was the truth.

"take that fucking pendant off your neck, yelled the sergeant on the first day. "but sir, my mother gave it to me as a good luck charm". "take that fucking pendant off before i wring your neck" yelled that fucking sarge again, obviously not charmed. and i had to take that fucking pendant off. it wasn't going off to a good start.


Army storeman : Did the uniform fit you ?
Soldier : The shirt is ok, but the pants are a bit loose around the armpits.

-- Totally Useless Stuff

Shared on Poetry Pantry #265 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ), 2015

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Sunday, August 09, 2015

a young girl does not understand this old soldier

Today is my nation's 50th birthday. A half century as an independent country. What am I going to write about this then, what do I see on this special occasion? The parade, the fireworks, the Leopard 2s and Apaches? No, others will write about these, and take better photos, than me.

I will then write something about our National Service, something I felt was a waste of time in the past, but a tenet that I supported now, if we are not to be bullied again.

photo by dsnake1

a young girl does not understand this old soldier

"Dad, did you really carry all these bags and guns
and march around with them for days? Isn't it kind of dumb?"

Packs, i corrected her. It's kind of dumb, yes, but then
darling, we did this so you and mummy can sleep safer.


© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

this is a night of werewolves

When it is a late cold night and you can't sleep, and you decide to update your blog, but it gets kind of boring and you click on social media instead...

photo by chrystel-lux
image from

this is a night of werewolves

outside, the night is oily with shadows
the rain smacking their cold hands
on my window panes.
faintly a woman's scream
from the opposite apartment block.
it could not be another murder,
i wonder.
just this morning yeah
there was one splashed
all over the papers.
people are getting stressed
grabbing kitchen knives
and not just for cooking.
then again this is most likely
some mother shouting at the kid.
always happening.

in my room, dark, shadows silent on walls,
only the light from the monitor screen.
i should have known better.
should not have clicked on youtube.
not on a night like this.
top 10 world's unsolved mysteries.
20 mysterious photos that should not exist.
why Vlad was called the impaler.
should have known better.


This is a night of evenly spaced-
out escalators. This is a night of werewolves.


from “This is a Night of Evenly Spaced-Out Escalators” by Zachary Schomburg

I was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and some idle web surfing on a late night). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in dark ways.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #263 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

the dust

This is about one of the camps I was based in when I was in the military. When it is hot, a dust cloud hangs in the air, and we tie bandannas over our noses, and when it rains the mud sticks to our boots like glue. A godforsaken place, no doubt.

image by dsnake1 generated on PS3

the dust

the dust,
it's always the dust,
red and sticky,
a sickly shade
of coagulated
colouring our hair,
our fatigues,
whenever a convoy
of supply trucks
or armoured carriers
rolls into camp
and we
smoking in the mess halls
watch the new recruits
eyes wide, bewildered,
clutching their duffel bags
if they had landed
on Mars.


another poem dusted out from the innards of my computer.

"A place, like a person, has character too."

-- dsnake1, About Places.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, July 05, 2015

About Places

No poetry today, just some not-so-coherent musings. There has been not much from me lately. I have been tied down with work, knocked out by the flu for a couple of weeks, and am working hard on some poems for a national poetry competition, which unfortunately, I am unable to submit as the deadline was just a few days ago. Oh well!

This piece has been sitting in the hard drive for some years, until I dusted it out recently and rewrite a few lines. There are some more squatters in my PC's hard drive. :)

almost Mondrian
image by dsnake1, done with PSP9

About Places

A post by blogger Gautami Tripathy some years back stirred my lazy grey cells. She wrote :

How does place figure in your writing? Do you feel comfortable in the place you live, or do you feel at odds with your atmosphere? Do you convey that in your writing? What stories does your location have to tell?

I have not really given much thought to this question before, because when I feel like writing, I will just write. I know, sounds cliched, but that's what it is

So I guess the 5Ws, the who, what, where, when and why are the questions I have to answer when I begin to write something, be it a short story or a poem. These are parts of the jigsaw puzzle that has to be fixed, the ingredients that are needed for a meal. And "place", the "where", is just part of the equation, although I think a very important part.

So yes, "place" do figure highly in my writings. The entries I sent to a national poetry writing competition some years back were all about a single place. A place I spent part of my youth, where I found my love, a place labelled dangerous, but a warm-hearted place, if you lived long enough there. I have written about places with names. Places with no names. The places where I had lived. Other cities. Sometimes, I build a poem around a place. Sometimes a person, and even a time.

Writing, and especially poetry, is about observation. You sit in a cafe with a coffee, you are packed with the crowds in the train, and there is nothing much to do but observe. The people around you, the places you frequent, you live in. The buildings, the streets, parks, trees, and eateries.

You will write about this because these are the things you know. The park bench you sat with your loved one, the street which wore your sneakers thin on your daily walk to work, the dark hill which you charged up with your platoon mates. The pub where you fought with Captain Morgan. Love and war and apathy makes you see a place differently.

So what are the places that inspire you? A wasteland, a war trench, a tranquil beach? A set of GPS coordinates? A planet in another galaxy?

A place, like a person, has character too. We fear a dark alley, and the dangers that may lurk within. A meadow with green blades of grass invigorates us. The booming waves on a breakwater sing to us of freedom. A wild flower growing out of a crack in concrete reminds you of resilience..

In its own quiet way, place is always around. Not just in my writings, but also in my physical environment. because it is just too important to ignore.

June 2015

The reason one writes isn't the fact he wants to say something. He writes because he has something to say.

-- F. Scott Fitzgerald

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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