Sunday, August 01, 2021

the city sheds its skin like a snake

This is a picture prompt from The Sunday Muse, prompt #168. Okay, I know it's a wee too late to post there.

image from The Sunday Muse

the city sheds its skin like a snake

you can see it
slowly surely
like the way dead skin cells
fall from the body
old houses
fall down
for steel monoliths
the way peasants
bow to kings
you are back in the city
it has changed
it has not changed
now we look for
a good cell signal
and the cafes
the way the signs
change their fonts
and the friendly old waiter
who serves you no more.

you can feel the sudden
rain that falls on you
cold as ice.

more broken asphalt
detour signs
they are still digging roads
to pile in more cables
to power
warehouses and schools,
penthouses and tenements
you sidestep orange cones
and puddles
the foreign workers in
luminous vests clawing
at the road in excavators
the smell of tar
rising from the summer road.

you can feel the city
shedding its old skin
like a snake.


Shared at Writer's Pantry #81 at Poets and Storytellers United.

I love my city, even though it crushed our little shanty home and made it a container port. Now I like it's tree-lined streets, streetlights that work, 24-hour convenience stores, and air-conditioned malls to escape the heat. The whole city seem like a theatre, us brisk walking to the subways, the traffic lights changing red to green, the mother pulling her crying child along is an actor, the boys pushing a ball at the basketball court are living their dreams. And even at night the city never sleeps.

- dsnake1

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, July 25, 2021

poems published in an anthology

I am happy but it is about a difficult subject.

a scan of the book cover by dsnake1

poems published in an anthology

In June 2020, I submitted 2 poems for A Thousand Cranes: an anthology with APHN. I am pleased to announce that the 2 poems have been accepted for print publication.

The poems are :

1. days and days - a new poem specially written for the theme with recollections about the painful times my mother was in a hospital.

2. hearts - this is an old poem that has been published on this blog in 2014. It is about the pain (and courage) my first wife was suffering from fighting cancer.

The editors received over 800 entries from people all over the Asia Pacific region, in 11 different languages. This poetry anthology aims to increase awareness and appreciation for palliative care in the region.

I received a complimentary copy of the book through the mail on a July Saturday. Can't wait to read every page.

Notes : APHN is The Asia Pacific Hospice Palliative Care Network.

          The anthology has been retitled from A Thousand Cranes to To Let the Light In.

          All the 840 submissions are at the APHN website. You can read them HERE.

scan by dsnake1

I am happy to receive this Thank You card from APHN and Sing Lit Station with the book.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, July 18, 2021

if time could stand still

Time is a ruthless herder.

photo by Dariusz Sankowski at pixabay

if time could stand still

if time could stand still
just for a while, for us
in a fine restaurant
sipping champagne
a name we could not
and later
hand in hand
at the esplanade
the waves gently
slapping breakwaters
we are
looking for falling stars
hidden in the
warm glow of moonlight

but time
is a ruthless herder
it makes no compromises
heeds no pleas

and so
it is not to be.


“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

― John Steinbeck, The Winter of Our Discontent

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, July 11, 2021

dark side of the moon #7

sometimes love can transcend other worlds...

photo by Alexas_Fotos at pixabay

dark side of the moon #7

Somewhere in Palestine, 2021

The children were playing Hungry Hungry Hippos when the soldiers stormed into the house. They stopped & watched the soldiers searching, knocking over things and do not understand what they were looking for. The elder boy tried to calm his sisters. Earlier, their father had gone out to the market to buy the hippo game, when the children said they wanted something to play. He had came back an hour later with the game, told the eldest son to look after the sisters, and had gone out again. And then, the soldiers came.

★ ★ ★

We are in body armour, helmets, loaded rifles. Spare magazines. Man, they are just three kids playing a Hungry Hippo game. What are we really searching for? There was really nothing much in the house. Except our boot marks. Wait, this new box for a children's game, where have we seen it before? Why yes, half an hour earlier. They had shot a man who had ignored an order to stop. He was carrying a same boxed game in a plastic bag.


This post was inspired by a video made by a Palestinian man. He made a video of how a simple magnetic fishing game, which he went out to buy earlier, could take his children's minds off all the shelling and the rockets outside. He was also seen comforting his daughter when a blast hit a building nearby. Tragically, the man was shot and killed a few days later while out in the streets...

David Gilmour - In Any Tongue

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, July 04, 2021

these are days

some days, an elephant sits on you...

photo by Maike und Bjorn Brõskamp at pixabay

these are days

in the news feed today the coronavirus had taken
a couple more of thousand lives

other countries seem far away, their names distant
and hard to pronounce

a crow looks at you from the top of a lamp post
cawing with mad laughter

we walk into days like this, like a trap-door
sprung, soaking with sweat

a guy calls at you from across the street and says
hi but your name is not johnny

looks like the morning you are looking for has
gone to the Colosseum with the lions

a garbage truck thunders past its vile breath
dusting you at the bus stop

the stray cat on the floor opens one eye and looks
at you, and closes it again.

written : 27/03/21
revised : 14/05/21

Drop's - Tシャツと涙 (T-shirt and Tears)

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

poetry lesson #7

Technology do the heavy lifting, but has it dull our curiosity?

pencil sketch by dsnake1

poetry lesson #7

once upon a time i have to
hammer out the words on
an old olivetti, changing
the ribbons every couple of months
or so
staining my fingers black and red

writing poetry

poetry is lonely, poetry is love, poetry can be brutal
-the poet goes to war, and is needlessly
  killed the day before Armistice
-the poet asks for water rather than
  disturb the morning glory at the well
-the poet sits in a chopper and cries
  for his buddy who had stepped on a mine.

i did not grow wings and rescue souls
i am just an old guy writing his life story

but i miss my cigarettes
i would like a cold beer
and the traffic in the night is reassuring
the world is breathing

do not put an extra demand
on the brain to corral the exact words

i go for a walk
i switch on the game machine
i sleep
i watch a youtube video (again)
the lady guitarist
she plucks the strings
she plucks
the air out of my lungs
the guitar cries
i cries
the life story waits


Band-Maid - Anemone

Shared at Writers' Pantry #76

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, June 20, 2021

a haiku

Father's Day

image by dsnake1

a haiku

missing dad -
sandpapering rust
off his old tool box.


the haiku is old but it is one of my favourites and i am posting it today.

I remember my dad as a stocky, muscular man, as he works in the construction industry as a carpenter and a foreman. I follow him for a couple of weeks working on a house for a wealthy pig farmer, and I know how tough the work can be. Yet his Chinese calligraphy is very elegant and beautiful, and bold. The people at the clan house would request him to write notices and wedding invitations.

He is a very quiet man, does not say much. When as a child, I got into scraps with other kids, he would just dress my wounds, and not ask anything. He is quite unfazed by anything, except when he once asked me what I was doing with a gang in Newton (I wasn't), and the news of Kennedy's assassination. He has passed on, at a relatively young age, and when I needed strength, I would think of him.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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