Sunday, May 22, 2022


“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door."

― Emily Dickinson, The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

photo by The British Museum at Unsplash


what fishes?
there are no fishes

the big boys with the nets
have trawled them

and what remains
are miserly opportunities

that are slipping by
slippery beyond grasp

me, i get by
with small fry.

undated. prob. 80's

Found this old piece in an old (read angry) journal, sighed, and let it loose on the internet.

Rosemary at Poets and Storytellers United tells us "to bear witness to these times we are living in, and how it feels to be living in them." I am posting one that is not about these present times but about a certain year, and a rather pivotal one.

The Vietnam War ends with the fall of Saigon. One of the lasting images of the war is that of a helicopter lifting off from the roof of the American Embassy, evacuating. Over in nearby Cambodia, the Communist Khmer Rouge had captured Phnom Penh earlier and begins a genocide of anyone who looks smart. In the space of slightly more than two weeks, US President Gerald Ford survives two assassination attempts by two women wielding handguns, both times in California. Perhaps the girls have been in the sun for too long. Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft and Jaws opens in cinemas, frightening us off the summer beaches. Back home, amendments to the law are made to introduce the mandatory death penalty for some drug trafficking cases, and the Area Licensing Scheme is launched in a bid to control traffic into the city core, the world's first such scheme. And I complete my conscription service in the army. All these in 1975.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2022

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Sunday, May 15, 2022


Losing someone you loved dearly will break your heart, but they will live always in that broken heart.

pencil sketch by dsnake1


We were night owls. We worked hard, partied hard after dark. We pub crawled, we drank. We loved the booming bass lines of live bands, the husky, sultry serenades of sexy songbirds. We loved bright shirts, loud colours, and sometimes we weren't sure which smell was stronger on our polyester, the cologne or the alcohol.

But above all, above us, we loved watching the stars. I tried to tell her that stars are just balls of fire, tried to explain to her about light years and the doppler effect and such. It's not very romantic. And she just smiled. To her, the stars are just jewels in the sky, mysteries not to be solved. So I just tried to point out to her, the Dog Star, the Big Dipper, and the stories behind the names, with what limited knowledge of the stars that I had. We would sit at the breakwaters, the piers, at the esplanade, the beaches, or the benches of city parks, looking up, sometimes her head on my shoulders.

But no more. She passed on, you see, a star herself, snuffed out. Is there a star less then? I can't tell, there are too many. Maybe the stars mirror us. A star extinguishes, someone loses a loved one. Maybe there are other star-crossed lovers like us, over the dark expanses, looking up at their night skies. Maybe there are wars being fought out there. Maybe the light I saw, was us a lifetime before.

if i could pluck the stars
put them in a jar
will you come back to me?


Drop's - 月光 [moonlight]

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, May 08, 2022

a coming of age

Magaly Guerrero at Poets and Storytellers United wanted us to " take a poem or story you wrote many years ago (preferably, one that wasn’t exactly awesome), and rewrite it."

So I took out some old journals with yellowed and crumpling pages, picked a less offensive "poem", sat down, did some cutting and adding to this 44 year-old work, and hey, here it is...

photo by dsnake1

The original -

A coming of age

Like aging cognac
I seem to have matured
Or at least I have thought I have been.
To have waded through the tide
Of uncertainty
Of the 60's and early 70's
Stumbling and drenched
With the foam and spray of confusion
And battered by the waves of failure.
Now I stand on a beach,
The deep sea,
And the flotsams of disaster behind me.
And like a new-born child
I have sandcastles to build...


The rewrite -

a coming of age

We see the sea, raging, and we wade into it.
We are youths then, we thought we could not die,
Not the reckless 70's, not rock music, arcade games.

We have our heroes and they carry knives or guitars.
Later we dig foxholes and wait for the enemy to come.
The enemy is Time, endless as hell, and his ally Age.

We see dreams fade like a mist, our pockets empty.
Good friends die or walk away and failure throws us
Like cigarette butts and spittle by the wayside.

Now I stand on a beach, the gulls lifting off the pier,
The deep sea, and the flotsams of disaster behind me.
And like a new born child I have sandcastles to build.


I think the rewrite is more 'visual' in a way, and the original suffers much from clichés. Also, it has been cleaned up in a format for easier reading. Which do you, dear reader, prefer, the original or the rewrite? 😃

Heart - Stairway to Heaven Led Zeppelin - Kennedy Center Honors

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2022

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Sunday, May 01, 2022

fields of loss

Hello, field of loss. You’ve been a story of so much waste.

from “A Theory of Windows” by Jessica Bixel

I was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and some pretty wild thoughts). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in heart-breaking ways.

pencil sketch by dsnake1

fields of loss

cat excavators are lifting soil and
bones and gun cartridges
teeth and fragments of clothing
workers are measuring the ditch
they wrap bandanas over their noses

this field
this field where the grass now grows over
slick with dew
this field where the dust is blown from
the bombed houses
it is cold when it rains
it is colder then when the men
and women
were mowed down
like grass.

their names whispered in anguish
like a cursed chant
auschwitz wounded knee babi yar my lai
the tears like rain could not
stop on cheeks to grass
the rain slipping off fatigues
the rain dripping off rifle muzzles
the terrified gaze of those
about to embrace the


so long, fields of loss
you are a story of so many excuses
you are the mouth of so many lies
you are the child who knows no love


Rosemary at Poets and Storytellers United would like us to "to share something of your own landscape with us". I wouldn't know if the above poem can qualify as a "landscape". What also prompted this poem is a historical marker erected at the side of my former work place. It marks a massacre and mass grave site of civilians during the Second World War.

Dragon's Dogma : Dark Arisen -- Main Title Theme

Dragon's Dogma is a copyrighted video game published by Capcom.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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Sunday, April 24, 2022

love songs

she sat on a high stool
plucking away on a guitar,
plucking our heartstrings
as she sang of love
and wanderings

dsnake1 - the pub singer

pencil sketch by dsnake1

love songs

We woke up late on a Sunday morning and while everyone else is going to church or the supermarket, or to trade gossip at a coffeeshop, the first thing she do was to go to the kitchen in her teddies, boil some water, fry some eggs and bacon, make some tea and coffee, the stirring spoon on glass like a wind chime, bring all that greasy stuff before the TV while I was warming up the karaoke machine.

After breakfast, we put our feet up on the coffee table, smoking our cigarettes, debating on which laserdisc to put into the player, she insisting on her Mandarin love songs, me my rock ballads and finally we agree on Andy Lau, slot in the heavy disc, and as the images flicker on on screen, we clutch our microphones, wave to the air audience in front, and wait for the tune to blast out of the speakers.


蘇芮 - 是否 / Su Rui -- Whether or Not

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2022

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Sunday, April 17, 2022

this is not the right time to think about dinner

Fear is not evil. It tells you what weakness is. And once you know your weakness, you can become stronger as well as kinder.”
– Gildarts Clive (Fairy Tail)

photo by Marjan Blan from Unsplash

  this is not the right time      to think about dinner

my boots sank into the mud     (space enough for one more )
  a carcass of a dog nearby     one more war number          
       half sunk in the mire     some fur or hair broke free
purplish belly, bloated     sloshing in the slush    
and the flies, the flies     more flies, squadrons  
buzzing buzzing     circling, looking  
like orbiting choppers     to drop their eggs      
       the rain still falling     little droplets glisten cold
on man, trees and grass     the weeds thick on boots
       this jungle trail     slick and treacherous
of crushed ferns and twigs     spears of dead bamboo      
this is an orchard with      jaws of razor teeth      
     no promises of life     silence & quick breaths
then the point man yelled     and was then silent          
         we froze     someone curses
   guns hugging bodies     we try to stay silent     
        raindrops dripping     fear dripping off helmets
    off the muzzles of rifles     clicks off safety catches     
       we lift our wet rifles     aim into the half darkness
   arms numbed with cold     and prepare to fire           


Are you enjoying your war movie?
I am afraid that the poem will not display well on smaller screens.

Twin cinema, which this poem is written in, is a poetic form written in two discrete columns. Each column can be read individually from top to bottom. It can present correlating or differing images. It can also be able to be read across the two columns. When doing so, each poem (Column 1, Column 2, and across the 2 columns) may tell a different story. The first twin cinema poem was created by Singaporean poet Yeow Kai Chai.

The Smashing Pumpkins - Bullet With Butterfly Wings

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2022

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Sunday, April 10, 2022

poetry lesson #11

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference."

― Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken

digital montage by dsnake1 with Sketchpad 5.1

poetry lesson #11
() this a poem

these are words scratched
by a bayonet tip
on an ammo box
in some foreign fields
and it claimed
a soldier was here
but he wished he was not.

these are squiggles scrawled
on some scrap paper
which looked like
some alien runes
but the writer thought
these can win
the next nobel award.

this is a seemingly blank
slightly yellowed page
where a salty tear once
dropped and blotted
when the heart was hurt
and words
were not enough.

this is a poem
these are poems.

written 01/06/2007
revised 03/08/2021

Poets of the Fall - Locking Up The Sun

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2021

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