Saturday, December 15, 2007

nights on a thin mattress

This is the 2nd poem of my collection I submitted to the GPA poetry competition.

This poem is about the time I was staying at a rented flat in Bukit Merah. It was crowded, but it was fun, and we were never short of arguments.

wide eyes
photo by Dyet
image from

nights on a thin mattress

there are, how many?
eight, nine people in the flat,
packed, but what to do,
at least got roof over head.
we don't have many places to go,
besides it's troublesome outside,
cops call you over
because they don't like your face.
so we just talk, bum cigarettes
turn on the half gone tv,
if nothing in the box then
roll out our thin mattresses
try to catch some sleep.

sometimes maybe 2 am,
there are sounds of breaking glass,
shouts, taunts, bad language.
some stupid drunks downstairs
at the coffeeshop
are playing muay thai.
we come out to the corridor,
shirtless in the hot night,
see if blood is spilt.
then some hothead from upstairs
would lean over the parapet screaming,
nabeh, shut the fuck up
i am coming down with a knife.

and the night is all peaceful again.

written 24.06.06
revised 17.07.07
© dsnake1

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Blogger polona said...

interesting, and that conveys the mood for me...
(in other words, i like it)

16 December, 2007 05:04  
Blogger Plus Ultra said...

The trouble with Poetry competitions is that One Man's Meaty Poetry is the Judge's Poison! Never despair! Let me say I like both poems and I think there is the touch of brutal reality that jolts us awake to life. Integrity, Truth. Sel-examination...if I were one of the judges, you may not have got the rejection letter...have a Blessed Christmas,are you coming up-country, wanna spend a lazy week-end in Kluang? Oh, Yes, this is an invitation, old friend

16 December, 2007 07:26  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

glad that you like it. :)
there are some colloquialism inside which i was afraid the foreign reader might not understand.

but the mood of the piece should be there, that of a light-hearted but resigned observation.

16 December, 2007 07:32  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

should have replied to your comment earlier, but have to rush to work this morning. (on a Sunday!)

ha, i like this :" One Man's Meaty Poetry. " :) Thanks for your comments. I guess poetry is like that.

and thanks for the invitation up-country. Not now, it's pretty work-heavy in the office, but i will keep your invitation in mind. I really like to meet you in person one day. :)

and by the way, congrats on your winning the International Children's Day Writing Competition in your country. Can't wait to read your winning poem. :)

16 December, 2007 22:13  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

I liked it. It felt like India. My nephew lives near his college with a bunch of kids just like you described. He likes it there.

One thing, there are no fights.

reading room

18 December, 2007 23:45  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you!

i bet your nephew will have interesting things to tell you. :)

19 December, 2007 00:11  
Blogger Blue Sky said...

That's a nice contradiction that makes people think about what they read in here. Maybe not everyone can understand. This is strange peace but funny thing is it is the way of some towns in the past.

My mum's family used to live in this sort of environment back in the 50s-60s. She told me her dad had to threaten some gangsters with a knife because he got tired of them haressing him for protection money.

- Liz

23 December, 2007 07:46  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

hi Liz,
i guess not everyone can understand what i am writing. why must we crowd into this place? why don't you go elsewhere.? they must understand the situation and difficulties of that time. it's unglam, no one wants to talk abt it.

ah, the 50s-60s are real wild. :)

23 December, 2007 14:02  

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