Sunday, May 20, 2018


sometimes we wish we can fly...

photo by Alvimann at


once it was
because i was
younger then
and i was intrigued
by it's deathly shadow
frozen in limestone
but now it is
the free seagull
of the waves
and blue skies
because you
sang of them.


a one sentence poem?

Pink Floyd, A Great Day for Freedom

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

our universe

This was an entry for the Genjuan International Haibun Contest 2018, submitted in late January 2018. The results were out in early May. No, this haibun didn't win anything. :)

image from pixabay

our universe

After we have packed our hammers and saws and nails in the toolshed, and our daily wages have been tallied and registered by our foreman, we gather outside the doorway for a final smoke. Someone lights some incense to the earth god, giving thanks for another safe day. Another feeds the black guard dog, stroking its beastly head as it eats hungrily from a dirty dish.

It is mostly like this, the end of another day, the smell of sawn wood still clinging to us like a scab. Sometimes we drink some tea, over a stove fire, like our forefathers did, building railroads and harbours in America and Hong Kong, half a lifetime away from home. The red glows of our cigarette tips flare, taunting the stars that are coming out in the gathering darkness, over the bulky silhouettes of the unfinished buildings behind us.

We stub out our cigarettes, grunt some goodbyes and jibes, and start our trucks and motor bikes, for the journey home, the tires churning out a cloud of dust on the unpaved roads. Tomorrow we will be here again, the dog's barks, loud in the early light blues of our universe.

dusk descends
the cirrus clouds sing
of a flat earth


and if you are still in the office: Working Class Hero -- John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, May 06, 2018

how i started on poetry

You will not remember your first dip into poetry.

Photo by LizzieB67 at pixabay

how i started on poetry

i copied nursery rhymes
on flimsy jotter books
doodled stick figures
to go with it.
and later
all pimply faced
i scratched foul-mouthed rants
in little notebooks
because i thought
i can change the world

is it poetry then
if i carved an opinion
with a bayonet
on an ammo box?

or on star lit nights
named the constellations
to the woman i loved
while seated on a cenotaph?

and now, almost a lifetime later
squinting into the glare
of the monitor
fingers on plastic buttons

i wonder, did this started it all?

twinkle twinkle little star
how i wonder what you are...

written 03/04/2014
revised 28/02/2018

"Tell me what you're reading, and I'll tell you who you are."

--Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk, First president of Czechoslovakia.

and if you still want to change the world : Ten Years After, I'd love to change the world

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

i can see she is still pretty

Is this a love story? Or a breakup tale?

Last of the set I intended to send in for the Golden Point Awards 2015. Maybe it's better I missed the deadline?

image from pixabay

i can see she is still pretty

i have come back
to visit my lover
many years after i left.
it was a parting of necessity
i assured her
but she would not listen.
i didn't call you a bitch
certainly not,
maybe my language was inadequate
and we were young
and rebellious and hot headed
but certainly not a bitch.

but she would not listen
not the way one reads the words.
she had grown lovelier as she aged
fuller body
scent of freshly cut flowers
ixoras in the sunshine.

then i told her i will leave
i will move on
i love her for what
i have learnt.
it may not be pretty
not always
but it certainly opens
my eyes.

and for the last time
i turn my back on her

walk her pavements
stub out my cigarettes
in her flower beds
linger at her bus stops
as i have lingered years before.

written 02.02.2007
revised 01.05.2015

Years ago, I lived briefly in a neighbourhood in Jalan Bukit Merah. Vibrant, wild and dangerous at times, but also quite unlikely friendly, kind and compassionate. It was quite a ride and an eye-opening experience...

"Things do not change; we change."

-- Henry David Thoreau

And if you have lost your way : Gerry Rafferty - Baker Street

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, April 22, 2018

thin red line

I wrote this for SingPoWriMo 2016 (the local variant of NaPoWriMo), and was posted at my other blog. The poem is inspired by a news report on depression, on an actual case where a widow wanted to jump from her block of flats, and her mother-in-law talked her out of it.

image by dsnake1, done with Sketchpad 4.0

thin red line

Sanity and madness, life and death, is just divided by a razor cut. Or a thin red line, and that is why, tied between her wrist and that of her young child, is a thin red thread. Standing at the rooftop of her apartment block, with the rapidly sinking sun, the dark clouds do look so much closer. As the wind slips around her hair, her legs, she takes a step forward towards the edge, her hand tightly holding her child's, the blackbirds watching, squabbling. The ground below is a dark abyss and the lights of the city are just mocking eyes. And then a soft voice, so close, so helpless.

mommy, i am cold.

And all the fears and hatred and pity fly off into the night, as she holds her child, feeling her warmth and she cries it all out and the child puts her hands on the mother's cheeks, and she cries some more, and more.

She tears off the red thread binding them, then, like a lotus growing out of mud, holding her child's hand, she walks back down the stairs, back to their home, as the stars start to twinkle in the sky above.

candlelight -
her face


“I went to the worst of bars hoping to get killed but all I could do was to get drunk again.” 

Charles Bukowski

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Another beer

This one was written and submitted for the Golden Point Awards 2007 competition. Now you can see why it didn't impress the judges.

photo by manfredrichter at pixabay

Another beer

the table top was a map
of battle sites or
was it the rings
of an old tree?
the empty bottles
were lined up
like stacks of
brown chimneys.
my friend stubbed
out his cigarette
on the said formica top
chain smoked another
tried to jab a slice
of century egg into
his mouth
all at the same time
and i was thinking i
had had enough
of this shit.
i was leaning back
on the chair
trying very hard
not to fall
when the beer girl
with the tight t-shirt
came over trying to
convince us
to buy another beer.


For the blue-collar slobs like us at that time, the poison of choice was beer. There's nothing like a few friends emptying beer bottles rapidly at a table. :)

“You can't be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline - it helps if you have some kind of football team, or some nuclear weapons, but in the very least you need a beer.”

Frank Zappa

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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Sunday, April 08, 2018

get the cuffs off or throw away the key

Another one for the GPA2015. Depressing, I know, and a poor choice for a competition poem.

digital drawing by dsnake1 using Sketchpad

get the cuffs off or throw away the key

bend & creep

green moss clings
to walls
nutured by rains
phlegm & tears
they bend & creep


you do not even want to hear
what I wanted to say!

the walls
surrendering cracks
they bend & creep
you could hear their
if you try hard enough
the whitewash bleaching
sepia tongues
they bend & creep

grey dust crumble
on trembling fingers

the blackbirds gather in trees silent
even they did not want to quarrel

the air hangs dry
crackling static


has been this way
for years

the taste on tongues still bitter
bend & creep


and I wonder if it takes being broken
open and emptied
to be filled with something new.


from “Thinking Like a Split Melon” by Jamaal May

This poem was inspired by the above lines from the Bibliomancy Oracle and an episode in a relationship. It can work in bitter ways.

And a song for the day : Daryl Hall & John Oates - Screaming Through December

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2018

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