Month: October 2017

Poem For The Weekend #72

Postcards, by Margaret Atwood I’m thinking about you. What else can I say? The palm trees on the reverse are a delusion; so is the pink sand. What we have are the usual fractured coke bottles and the smell of backed-up drains, too sweet, like a mango on the verge of rot, which we have also. The air clear sweat, mosquitoes & their tracks; birds & elusive. Time comes in waves here, a sickness, one day after the other rolling on; I move up, it’s called awake, then down into the uneasy nights but never forward. The roosters crow for hours before dawn, and a prodded child howls & howls on the pocked road to school. In the hold with the baggage there are two prisoners, their heads shaved by bayonets, & ten crates of queasy chicks. Each spring there’s race of cripples, from the store to the church. This is the sort of junk I carry with me; and a clipping about democracy from the local paper. Outside the window they’re building the damn …

singapore diaries (iii)

Back already, in Singapore, a place that now feels so familiar I barely notice its idiosyncracies. Such as this: more than eighty per cent of Singaporeans live in HDB flats, owned by the government’s Housing Development Board, like these. Dizzyingly tall high-rises painted in tropical shades that catch the sun, designed with walkability, shade, diversity and greenery in mind. The policy was introduced in the 1960s as the newly independent city-state searched for a drastic solution to its burgeoning economy and growing population. Workers were moved from cramped shophouses and crumbling shacks to their new homes in the sky. Today the flats are so in demand a three to four year waiting period applies. It’s a policy idea so drastic – and yet so simple – that it’s unthinkable of it happening at home. And would we want it to? Solve the housing crisis, commit to high-rise living and end accommodation inequality, but lose the green belt, succumb to uniformity and bid farewell to an individual’s right to choose one’s home (if one can afford …

Poem For The Weekend #71

On The Way Back by Kathy McVey. Light is boxed into the neighbour’s windows: yellow squares in the night. The moon cold-smacks her head like dirty fog. The noises: her own feet crunching gravel, the wheelbarrow chattering on the cattlestop. At the end of the driveway she is putting out the rubbish (recycling bin and two black plastic bags) and she is loving it, resolving to love one thing she hates, every week. Tonight, the beautiful night – such a dark delicious night – is forcing her into being adept at garbage-duty, at turning, at noticing her own house – its lights boxed now: its chicken in the oven, its books, baby, fireplace.

Poem For The Weekend #70

Why I Wake Early by Mary Oliver. Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety— best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light— good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.

Bright Spots | September

  small glories, recollected: + Apples hand-picked from the troupe of trees in the garden, ferried to the office and bestowed upon favoured colleagues.  + Rhubarb, too (whiskery, we joke, for it sprouts from the same patch where our sweet cats lie resting for eternity), baked into pies and cakes, stewed to top porridge, stirred into compote and chutney, and frozen for my parents to enjoy when they return for Christmas. + Lunch breaks, bittersweet in their brevity, spent scribbling in my mint-green journal on Temple Rooftop. + The amber light of early autumn dawns, runny like honey, precious as gold. + The comforting familiarity of the Met Line (and jumping on the semi-fast trains when running late, always a stroke of luck!)  + Friday night visits with my paternal grandparents, knitting by the window, gazing out at the branches swaying in the wind. + Pumpkin, carted home the short trip from the greengrocer’s on the corner, and roasted in olive oil, salt, and cumin. + One pot suppers, and new friends to share them …