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.

© 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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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Open-air Cinema, South Quay, 1960's

Here's something I remembered from my childhood. Ah, those simple days.

I have posted this sometime back, as a response to a 'photo challenge'. I think it is not too well written, as a poem. It feels too casual and conversational. I have thought of revising it, but well, it's nearly ten years already.

photo by DMedina, image from

Open-air Cinema, South Quay, 1960's

You lucky people today would have laughed and knocked
it down as a dilapidated caricature of a movie house,
the rust-bitten zinc sheets carving a rectangle perimeter
like a stalag wall, no roof, and weeds sprouting all around.

Back then in the village, it was the happening place,
the gossip exchange, the pub, the children's playground,
the lovers' night out, a respite from a hard day.

For 30 cents you may have a blockbuster, but bring your own chair
or stool, or better still lug a sofa, sure there are benches
but they are all filled up if you arrive late and they are not
comfortable to begin with and rumoured to be bug infested.

By sundown the projectionist is testing his equipment
shooting a beam of light onto the screen.

Excuse the kids, they are young and bored
and have great imaginations and this is the signal
for them to jump up on their seats and wave their hands around
in the path of the light throwing shadows of birds, rabbits, dogs
onto the screen, they are such artists.

Excuse the ah pek beside you, he is here for the show, not shadow play,
he will soon be swearing profusely in hokkien
nabeh nabeh nabeh

Excuse also the local louts, cracking melon seeds
puffing away like smoke-stacks, and wolf-whistling
at every skirt that passes their way.

Sure, sometimes there are fist fights in the stands
even before the slaughter begins on the screen
but what's a little side entertainment, no problem.

When the sky above your head is dark, the show starts,
the operator dims the lights, the projectionist
cranks up the volume to sadistic heights,
the giant bullhorn speakers shuddering every wall.

other than that it's your typical wholesome family cinema,
sit back and relax, enjoy Hollywood and Hong Kong in your backyard.

Sometimes it rains, the show goes on, you make tough decisions,
take a chance with the lightning or go home, there are no refunds.

Just as you learn later in life.


pardon the formatting, playing havoc with the lines. :)

It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?”

― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, April 12, 2015


Teenage angst. Anger. Searching for identity. All the while leaning dangerously to the left. :)

digital image by dsnake1, done with pencilmadness


i got my pendant
at the Thieves' Market.
you can get almost anything
there, if you just asked,
porn, nunchakus, weed
the weasel who sold it
swore it was gunmetal but
i probably knew better.
anyway i wore
that piece of steel
like an amulet
the whole summer,
my rebellion,
my revolution.
i kept my hair long
my temper short,
vitriol rolled off my tongue
like well-oiled bullets,
i was the poet that
wanted to change the world
but i could not.
Che was a god
who had been killed
in Bolivia,
but gods don't die
and i was confused,
i did not understand
and all i could do was
sweat out the summer,
dripping with rage
while the days ran hot
and the rain trees bled
dead brown leaves,
the air hung thick
with bitter ash
and i wore that
peace symbol
the whole damn summer
waiting for the army
to come for me.

written : various dates from 70's to present.
revised : 21/03/2015 (UNESCO World Poetry Day)

"Things really ain't that tough
As long as I'm still able, to turn the t.v. off"

-- Daryl Hall & John Oates, 70's Scenario

Shared on Poetry Pantry #247 at Poets United. Finally, a completed work from little scraps of writings over the years. :)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, March 29, 2015

even as the sky rains

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew, founding father and first prime minister of Singapore.

1923 - 2015

photo/haiga by dsnake1

"This is my country. This is my life. This is my people…
We dug our toes in, we built a nation."

-- Lee Kuan Yew

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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Sunday, March 08, 2015

even surcharges are no incentives

I wrote this nonsense for NaPoWriMo 2013. I think no one read this piece of crap yet.

There was a time I was recalled back to work in the dead of night pretty frequently. Ah, the nightmares!

photo by dsnake1

even surcharges are no incentives

it's 5 a.m. +
a cold, lonely strip of road
and all i am thinking is home.
but the taxis won't stop.
the drivers see
a single male
with a bag
and just speed on.

perhaps it was the bag.

after the 4th
uncooperative cab or so,
the first bus of the day comes,
it's headlights flaring.
it stops
when flagged.
the driver
is sullen,
a couple of passengers
laid in the seats
like dead fishes.

but really it's okay.


The original title of this piece was "early morning transport" but I thought it was a lousy title.

"and when the driver cracked a joke
about the government
the three of us laughed again
in the middle of the night."

-- dsnake1, night takes.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #242 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2015

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