Playing Telephone

Sometimes it’s a parent’s birthday

or a  project rotting alongside the

morbid tick tock of a deadline


This time

it’s a speeding car knocking you off

you body flatlining

in defiance with gravity for seconds


The car is dented

You were unscathed with feet back to the ground


I’m holding a paper cup to my

ear trying to understand the

nothings you mouth on the other end

The child in you muses whenever someone

pretends to listen

You’ve been playing telephone for too long


We’ll play hide and seek

I’ll go hide

You come find

We'll take turns playing dead till you pick up

A real phone

dial a real number to a

Real person


Look I’ve been scathed

I’m healing

I’m breathing


Let me breathe life into you

Because I wish the car had knocked life into you
Playing telephone

“Let me breathe life into you”


To turn on and off like a switch

With a click I'm on pause and replay

like an entertainment system

I disguise under a compressed file with the tag 'work'
I slide into archive during busy afternoons
But make a reappearance between tobacco and expresso charged 
mid day breaks 

I fill in two hour lunch slots
as I part good bye just before the last bus leaves

When you sleep I wrap around your feet, to keep them warm
And dissipate once they touch the carpeted floor in the morning

When I'm too quiet to bear
I somersault to the rear end of your brain 
the weight of unknown words might smash the concrete platform 
I tread tonight softly

The leash around my neck lies loose
As I jump, run and spin

I can't move too far
the sides of my neck are chaffed
But if the other option is to be slotted and forgotten till replay

I'd rather bleed and walk 

Photography : Kimberly Jow 

Big Hair Wisdom- My Story

big hair wiz

Photography: S Divya

The hair grew out sleek and soft

straight, long falling down to young knees

during two californian autumns

It curled and frizzled

under the hot spiced tropics of new home; Singapore

The milk laced tongue got used to laksa and peppered curry

her ears filled with the constant laughter of elderly wisdom

The hair absorbed new found knowledge well beyond its years

most of them borrowed

And it grew longer, thicker

the straight strands curling into one another in a maze

whispering questions:

Will I be pretty enough? 

Will the other kindergarten kids like me? 

When would I finish climbing the monkey bar? 

Why does sand get into my hair? 

Why is my voice too soft? 

why does the unbrazen brown boy like pulling my hair? 

The stray strands

were weaving into one another

cuddling for comfort

Over the years they were trimmed and cut over and over

puzzling hairdressers island wide with a shock of black curls

they tried the U-cuts the straight-cuts and begged 

that she opted for thinning

she refused and medicated them with coconut oil

the awkward hair didn’t hide her rounded shoulders, broad hairline

and wallpaper she mistook for clothes

She found her eyes expressive her nose permissible

better bejewelled with a diamond nose stud

and she found The hairdresser who tamed the split ends

making them flow from her forehead like divine black waves

framing her cheeks, parting at the right axis of her face

he refused to thin the spillage

it was brimming with bottled rage and curiosity

to wash over anyone she met and to make the town fall in love with her

The curls weren’t just pretty

they were Her

big bursting loud but tender

waiting to answer questions any eyes sought to ask her

The big hair wasn’t just pretty

it was Her

it was Her story.


Bloated tummies

Sometimes we wake up with bloated tummies.

Heavy and sore from fired coal

tossing and turning

filling our stomachs with hot air


We throw amber coals to others’ windows

The blinds are drawn

We are invisible but no one can ignore our heat


My tummy has been dormant for months

Today it ignites with familiar evil

I’m lining a trail from your window to my tummy with ashes

It’s safe to draw the blinds up now


Amber coals have been crushed to grey ashes.