Sunday, March 24, 2024

what are you doing tonight?

The night seems long, and there is no place to go.

photo of a Kyoto street by dsnake1

what are you doing tonight?

the half eaten dinner
is still in the styrofoam box
on the table

perhaps the rice is too sticky
maybe the cook had a bad day
like me

stub out the nth cigarette
sitting in the darkness listening
for a heartbeat

the blue curaco in a tall glass
with borzoi vodka and ice cubes
cools nerves

i light incense to her at the altar
call out her name, see the smoke
like farewells

i clean the dust and oil off
the gas hobs, as she had done
so many years

until the cold steel shines
and my sobs tremble and echo in
the silence

sitting in the quiet dark again
trying to figure out how the years
were wasted.

you will figure out surely
what you are doing tonight
the night answers

then i fire up the power amp
slip a disc into the player
sit back

and wait for Mark Knopfler
and his guitar to take us
to nirvana.

written lovingly 15/09/2007
revised slightly 23/08/2021

Dire Straits - On Every Street

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2024

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Sunday, January 28, 2024


She used to wear an anchor pendant on her necklace. Perhaps this is the one thing that is weighing me down.

There was once a prompt at Poets and Storytellers United to write about October. Sorry, my poem is about September.

photo by dsnake1


September seems like a meteor dropping from the sky,
once bright, then gone.

Like you too.

Remember we stand at the parapets of our block,
smoking cigarettes, bitching
about money and our jobs,
you a seamstress, me an odd-job labourer?

Life gets better.

But then you are gone, those memories hang
like van Goghs on my dusty wall.
Starry nights, irises, sunflowers,
cafes, tears and labour.
But I am too afraid
to follow you and so I linger
and I sit in dark corners
and wait for


written 26/09/2023
revised 28/09/2023

"what matters is that I still have
after all that has preceded
poems left
me left
and these walls that I have always
in all the cities and in all the
places I have lived, these walls are still here and
my radio plays,..."

Charles Bukowski, luck from a kitchen

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2024

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Sunday, January 07, 2024


If there is a word to describe my 2023, it is "daze". Most of the months moved by like a haze, dysfunctional after boring months. Troubled by a rogue thyroid, lost weight, lost direction, time consumed by social media, most days is a snafu.

Then a stay of a month and a half in Amsterdam and the Netherlands somehow brought back some order. Ah, Amsterdam, the city of canals and bridges, bicycles and cyclists, cannabis and museums. The city woke me up to the beauty, and ugliness of this world.

From there, I followed the routes that Vincent van Gogh took in the village of Nuenen, where he stayed for some months at his mother's house, where he painted the watermills, windmills and people. Later I will visit the new, sleek museum in Amsterdam where most of his paintings are.

I made trips to the battlegrounds of World War 2, to Arnhem, to Groesbeek and Nijmegen, to look at mangled pieces of metal, to Anne Frank's house in Amsterdam, where a teenage girl just wanted to live a normal life, to try to understand the inhumanity of man to man.

I underestimated the cold in Amsterdam during November/December, coming from the tropics, and had to get extra warm clothing. I saw the homeless sleeping on the sidewalks, underpasses, and understand how cold they must have felt.

On the day I was leaving for home, at the airport, I saw heavily armed police and military personnel around. Discreet, yet visible, they are there because of a terrorist threat. There is more or less the same presence when I landed. The world has changed, and has not changed much.


from a wall mural in Amsterdam, Netherlands
photo by dsnake1


"I will do it today."
"Tomorrow, it will be done."

And so, another year passes...


We do not cherish the hours until we worry about the nanoseconds. - dsnake1

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2024

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Sunday, October 01, 2023

our old home

The prompt at Poets and Storytellers United asks us what conjures up "Home". There are perhaps many images that do that, and I would like to share this old poem (written and published here about a decade ago) about an old place I grew up in.

pencil sketch by dsnake1

our old home

looking out of the taxi from the viaducts
of the expressway

i saw the lights in the huge yards bathing the port
like day

the containers stacked as neatly as colourful
lego bricks

the cranes over them like metal brachiosauruses
breathing steam

once upon a time my cousin and i
catch catfishes

where the giant ships at the wharves
now berthed

not caring about the stings
or drowning

today as the last evening lights
scattered off

offices and warehouses ringed by a
chain-link fence

casting shadows and memories on a
concrete strip

there used to stand a house where I
called home.


"Tomorrow, we will be flying over the South China Sea
& home"

dsnake1 - lonely when away from home

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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Sunday, August 20, 2023

"Woman charged $608 for lobster la mian"

SingPoWriMo 2023 Day 3.

The prompt is to write a poem in Singlish. I will try. I speak it everyday.

photo by Pexels at pixabay

"Woman charged $608 for lobster la mian"

I never said that hor, it was in the news. Or some social media feed. Then if you look at the picture, the dish does look like a plate of vomit. The eater said one hor. Also cannot see the lobster. For that price? No wonder the woman kao pei kao bu. But never ask the price in the first place meh? Or look at the menu? Die die must eat here meh? I think some people are blur like sotong, or so rich till dun care. I wish I am rich liddat hor. Then can eat lobster noodle also. But liddat in the picture, I also complain one even if I got money to burn. Talking about money, that 600+ can fly budget to Oz and eat the lobster there. Lagi more fresh. Maybe can also throw in scallops, prawns and if you want, hum. (hum very expensive now, the char kway teow uncle told me). Okay lah, the kopitiam downstairs just renovated and open, let me see what I can get there. La mian?


Notes :

blur like sotong : used to describe a clueless person. Sotong is Malay for squid, which squirts ink to escape from predators. The ink makes it hard to see.
char kway teow : a stir-fried dish of rice noodles.
die die must try : something so great the person must try, no matter what.
hum : blood cockles.
kao peh kao bu : complain. Usually a big complaint. From Hokkien literally meaning 'cry father cry mother'
lagi : Malay word for more, greater or further.
la mian - "pulled" noodles, i.e. hand-made noodles.
liddat : like that
uncle : a male who is middle-aged or older, not necessarilly a relative and especially not well acquainted. The female form is auntie.
hor, lah, meh :(also mah, leh, siah as other examples) these are discourse particles occurring at the end of a sentence. It does not change its grammatical meaning, but how it is spoken changes the meaning or tone of the sentence, for example indicating annoyance, disbelief, amazement , etc.

CNA Insider - How Singlish Went From 'Cannot Make It' To National Hero | Singlish: Why We Talk Like That? - Part 1

(It's a bit longish, but interesting.)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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Sunday, August 13, 2023

somewhere, redux

Maybe she is having a better, happier life now...

image by Aurel_Cham at pixabay

somewhere, redux

it's been twenty-eight years
you should have been
if you did
you could be
a mother
by now

and if i walk past you
somewhere in a street
in Redhill
would i still

and perhaps i will,
or maybe not
but if i see
that walk
swaying hips
in that mall
or park
that voice
that laughter

and if our eyes should meet
in that split
moment in time
will understand
those trembling
those brimming tears
in my eyes.


The prompt at Poets and Storytellers United is to write about "the last time you had a good laugh or cry"

"I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
In life after life, in age after age, forever.
My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
In life after life, in age after age, forever."

― Rabindranath Tagore, Selected Poems

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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Sunday, July 23, 2023


Blursday : n. a day of the week that is indistinguishable from any other.

I am sure the word was a prompt from one of the issues of Poets & Storytellers United. Just can't remember which date.

digital montage by dsnake1 with GIMP

blursday (7th apr to 1st june 2020)

Thank god the internet is alive and well.
And Netflix.

The social media videos start to arrive.
They hiss like little forked tongues.

The rebels arrive. A man with full body tattoos striped down to his underwear and strutted around the town neighbourhood waving his pants. Cops tried to tackle him. They had a hard time bringing him down. He was a good rugby player.

spring cleaning -
our little histories.

A nice dinner of stir fried cabbage with dried shrimps and fried pork collar with chillies helps a ton. Everybody loves it.

More social videos : elderly lady is unleashing a whole range of vulgarities at two cops when confronted for not wearing a mask. The two cops are hesitant to tackle the lady. They know the internet is watching. Eagerly watching.

Some people are slipping into a rabbit hole.

Thank god for youtube. There's a Japanese all-girl rock band that's driving the internet (and me) crazy.

cherry blossoms -
looking at my photographs
of Japan

Two blackbirds perch on my air-con unit and debate the pandemic.

the silence
in the house

Tried fried udon with minced meat and everybody loves it.
Home-cooked pasta with meat sauce and everybody loves it.
Perhaps i can think about a career change.

A dinner of yam rice with chinese sausages. Very basic.
But everybody loves it
Hmm, about that career change...

overcast skies -
looking at your old photographs

another morning
counting the meds
counting the videos

nicked finger -

red fish gills
in a white sink

a scent of lilac your floral blouse

Home stretch.
Start counting the number of brands of beer i have drunk. Give up after the 11th and start rummaging in the fridge for one. Any brand.

The end of blursdays
What day is today?

The family wants me to cook dinner.


318 words

written in response to a prompt
revised 06/12/2022
revised 02/07/2023

BAND-MAID - Daydreaming

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2023

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