Sunday, July 03, 2016

going to work

I wrote and submitted this poem for a competition, "Moving Words", way back in 2011.

It was to present works by Singaporean poets in the media spaces in the trains (SMRT) and stations. Although my poems were not shortlisted, 3 of them were selected for publication in an anthology, "Moving Words 2011 : A Poetry Anthology".

photo/image by dsnake1

going to work

this city outside the moving bus
was a throbbing blur of walls
and trees and impatient traffic

they said sunrises and mornings
are beautiful but someone must be lying
it was just a razor that hurts the eyes

as i rubbed a two-day stubble on my chin
the lady in the opposite seat was nervous
pretending to read a book check her nails

i do admit i don't look friendly
but i am running late i miss my cigarettes
i still have to clock 8 hours in the office

july 2011

If this piece sounds cynical it is because i have to work on a public holiday.

“You can't understand a city without using its public transportation system.”

Erol Ozan

Shared on Poetry Pantry #309 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

Working on a holiday is no fun. Congrats on having three of your poems included in an anthology. Yay!

04 July, 2016 00:17  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

Oh so many morning rides to work can have that effect....noisy, bright. I don't miss those mornings. I felt as if I was riding with you.

04 July, 2016 00:48  
Blogger Mary said...

You have really captured the experience well, including so many details that help us see and hear what it felt like & what was passing by. How wonderful that your poetry was included in an anthology....testament to your talent. Impressive.

04 July, 2016 01:53  
Blogger SuyashJ said...

I get the missing cigarettes part

04 July, 2016 02:24  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

Far from cynical - going to work is a marathon of many parts..a dragging of the spirit into a place we'd rather not be - a smoke isn't a bad idea all in all

04 July, 2016 02:47  
Blogger brudberg said...

This makes me very happy to be able to commute by bicycle - wonderful.

04 July, 2016 03:28  
Blogger totomai said...

Rush hour. Ah the demands of salaryman. Work, work and try not to be late. I laughed at the second stanza. :)

04 July, 2016 05:57  
Blogger Susan said...

Hahaha! The inner thoughts of the silent riders. I think I can tell they haven't yet had the cup of coffee that would take the edge off the morning.

04 July, 2016 06:35  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

I love it! Ha ha, I remember so well what it was like commuting to work – by train, in the city of Melbourne, where I lived 30+ years. (I used to smoke in those days, too, and of course one could not on public transport.)

04 July, 2016 07:09  
Blogger Old Egg said...

I am a people observer and public transport whether buses, trams or trains as they are a great stories as I imagine relationships, note conversations and watch people scurry away to their jobs shopping or appointments.

04 July, 2016 09:41  
Blogger rallentanda said...

Liked this raw vignette of quotidien life. Has a Kerouac feel about it:)

04 July, 2016 11:30  
Anonymous thotpurge said...

You've captured moments of the work commute so well... loved it.

04 July, 2016 12:16  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

I agree, its certainly not fun working on a holiday. Hope you feel better soon :)

04 July, 2016 16:18  
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04 July, 2016 19:41  
Blogger R.K. Garon said...

Haha even cynical you manage a little humor ( I'd be pissed too working a public holiday and w/o cigarettes :-(
You did capture the situation very well.

04 July, 2016 20:55  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


being in the service line, it is one of those bad things.

thanks! there was one haiku i particularly liked.


thank you! but working on a holiday makes that a bit tedious and grumpy. :)


just relating my experiences on that day. :)
it was a pleasant surprise to have my poetry in that anthology.


hahaha! you too?


you are right in that going to work is a sort of marathon of many parts. i think it's how one views the work. whether one enjoys doing it or feels it as a pain.
i have quit smoking a few years back (the heart demands it) but cigarettes have gotten me over many a bad patch. :)


you're one happy guy! maybe i should follow your example, but our roads here are rather bike-unfriendly.


well, you know what salarymen are like!
glad you liked that second stanza. that's what you get when you go to work with bleary eyes. :)


yeah, i think they haven't had that cup of coffee yet. :D


ah, another public transport commuter! in the good old (and bad) days, we could smoke in the buses, there were 'smoking' and 'non smoking' sections, but it was terrible. good that it was banned later.


you know where to get your inspiration! people watching and public transport is a good way to get writing material. :)

04 July, 2016 22:23  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


"a Kerouac feel"! now, that's nice! :)


thank you! :)


i am feeling so much better already.i hardly do any holiday duties nowadays so there's something less to gripe about. :)


it's really very hard waking up on a public holiday, believe me. :)

04 July, 2016 22:38  
Anonymous dsnake1 said...

Anon, thanks for visiting. perhaps the reason it loads a bit faster is because there are no ads here and my graphic files are resized smaller. :)

04 July, 2016 23:38  
Blogger magiceye said...

This perfectly describes an urban commute!

05 July, 2016 09:29  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, magiceye! good to hear from you. :)

05 July, 2016 22:45  

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