And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

~ The Waste Land, "The Burial of The Dead", Eliot

Friday, March 30, 2007
she tells me, he was heavy when he left .
i can't reconcile memory with loss.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007
today was a hot day. unusually hot. spring is here. i was reminiscing, staring out into the blue, late evening. my hands in midsentence from a sentence about the hajj and high capitalism. "reminiscing about what?" madi asks.
"rubbish," i say.
"it better not be sad rubbish, because you have a PAPER to do," she glares.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007
suddenly, she was excited, closed the book, with a resounding thud, gathered her things, and straightened her skirt, prepared to put the book back in the shelf.

Thursday, March 22, 2007
i found a room full of glass today. i read about the right to self termination and dignity. i am sneezy today. (oh please, please, don't let me be sneezy) i am thinking, of particular things. my hands, hold my head up, gently. it was a restful and, actually, a readful week. and everyone was so lovely and wonderful. on tuesday i ate with him, it was like eating during a slow fading sunset, but thinking that it was lovely, lovely and wonderful, and the loveliness will keep me from freezing at night. i think i might stay out of my room a little bit more, now that i have found my room full of glass. the city passes me, but i can't really hear it. in my room of glass, in the languages and literature building, there is a certain regality amidst the barbarism of the city. thursday is the day of glass, delicate breath, and children at prayer.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007
mother called, left a voicemail. the snow is clearing. term begins, life goes on.

Monday, March 12, 2007
in summer, i will take a flight to beijing, by myself.
i will sit in an almost familiar room, and close my eyes.
and then i will write, write till there is nothing, and everything, left to say.

new paltz, new york.
steel nerves, says "batman", shaking his head. "batman" isn't really batman, he traded his executive dayjob and name to jump off planes for a living. at 13500 feet, new paltz stretches beneath me, the white and brown landscape is like a naked woman, free of pretenses, stark, beautiful. it is so beautiful that it leaves you in the absence of fear. my body flips, unsteady. then, i compose myself, tell myself i was once a dancer, i fall into an arch, stretch my arms, glide. at that altitude, you are so far removed from the ground that even as you plunge downwards, the earth ceases to advance towards you. in the 55 seconds of freefall you have between 13500 and 7000 feet, this produces the optical illusion of flight.

it is winter in new paltz, but the loco ones come back in spite of the cold, say andre. andre is russian, his words tumble from his lips, thick as crust on bread. one of the men shoots an air rifle into the air, with flourish. he is injured, he had a bad accident, he is shorter now, he says, now that he has broken his back and neck twice. igor comes in, the skinny german with red emo specs, an orange parachute and pink shoes, this is his third jump of the day. he blazes against a pale sky like a firebird. he lands, the crunch of shoes meeting new fallen snow.

a windsock in the middle of the airfield, orange against white.

in the plane, the bearded veterans discuss the base jumping, sneaking into buildings afterdark, hiding, and waiting when all the lights have gone out, to freefall over a land of lights. they chuckle conspiratorically, before joining hands, and falling together into the wilderness. there is always nearly a car to pick them up, i hear, so they can pack their parachutes, and quickly melt into the dark.

in summer, "batman" says, they pitch tents in the woods, make fires. there is much singing and beer. then all sleep under the stars. by sunday, the campers leave, returning to their cluttered lives.

it is dusk. ams, the other russian and igor sit in the front of his car. russian trance plays to a landscape of sleeping trees, brown grass, white snow. quiet settles into me, the slow calm of a slow parachute ride into sleep.

Saturday, March 10, 2007
meeting poet ken french and his partner is lovely. they have come back from dinner, wear earrings, are old, balding bearded potbellied men in outrageous pajamas pants. their black dog circles around my ankles like a whirring top. they laugh about spring in paris. have a great spring, i say. have a great sunday, they say, you brave girl.

the paradox of pain (from the book of 5am stories)
when i fell down, i usually was always too shell-shocked to react. when i was seven, i fell off my bicycle. i cried a little, clutching my thighs, but not much. my father told me, i was okay. so i picked myself up and continued riding. when i reached home and went to the bathroom, i realised my underwear was stained with blood. i panicked, and then i started crying, in fear, because i didn't understand the ways my body could be injured, if i was injured, who turned the switch inside me.

when i was even younger, my mother took me to a barbeque. it was full of grownups, no children. she left me to run around myself. i was bored, and those who are bored have the amazing capacity to hurt themselves. i imagined i was humpty dumpty, i sat on a wall, and had a great fall. i have always had an overactive imagination - this has provoked anger amongst boys and friends, this has hurt me in many ways, because i envision the ways i can be hurt, and then, as though in a self-fulfilling prophecy, the speech act transposes itself into form. but i am disgressing. that night the air must have smelt of ash, oil, salt, laughter. one moment i was on a wall. the next moment, i rolled down the wall, and fell. i did not know i was hurt. i went to look for my mother, perhaps i wanted a drink. she looked at me, she was horrified, what happened? , she asked, almost accusatory. nothing. i said. then she drew attention to the fact that there was blood on my dress, on my chin. i saw the blood on my dress and chin, and then i started crying.

after those two incidents, for a long time, i believed, perhaps we think we are hurt, only because other people around us consider us hurt. hurt is an imaginary label imposed on us, and we perform it out because it is the correct response. the proposition goes: if he thinks i am hurt, i must be hurt. the person who believes this comes to think he is infallible, he is beyond hurt if he can convince himself hurt is an imaginary entity.

there are repurcussions to this. with this sense of infallibility comes an overwhelming sense of alienation on part of the hurt, and those who love him. the betrayed lover, the tired mother, the disappearing friend, all ask, aren't you hurt? they call into the hollowed cave of the loved one's face, attempting to hear an echo of their own grief and loss. this echo will remind them that their voices touched the walls of his heart, and it answered. but he has shut his eyes, i am beyond hurt he whispers, the interior of the cave has been mined dry. the more he convinces himself of the absence of hurt, the more the grief and loss of those around him. the more the grief and loss around him, the greater the impossibility of healing.

Hereditary sensory autonomic neuropathy Type IV is a disorder characterised by an impaired sense of pain, insensitivity to fluctuations in temperature. children who suffer from it are constantly wounding themselves and aggravating their wounds, in ignorance, in their incapacity to feel pain. pain is the body's alarm signal against danger. the paradox of pain is that in hurting, it brings about the avoidance of hurt. pain is a reaction to loss and an articulation of longing for the object of loss. to deny it is to deny the human ties that make you and facilitate recovery.

i had cuts from a bicycle, a motorcycle, hamster bites, staples, amongst other things. cuts hurt only when they begin to heal. the paradox of pain is that it signals healing. at first, they tingle. when blood and pus have closed around the cut, sealing it like an envelope framing a last goodbye; then the dull, slow ache sets in, the stiffness that makes you afraid to move like hummingbird in winter. the heart slows, the system shuts down, almost on the brink of death. and body makes its journey to the banks of death, in order to return. the act of departure on pilgrimage is centred completely on the return - that in returning, life may be more vivid, a series of unbroken lines, an uncluttered sky.

Thursday, March 08, 2007
i miss humidity, thunderstorms, perspiring and wearing shortsleeved shirts and ballet flats and flipflops. and waking up to the smell of douhuashui. and my dog (oh me and madi were talking about our dogs, and boys made of sunshine and dark, and dumplings and sorbet, and her unexpected prayers). today a parcel arrived, i buried my face in the pillowcase that came in, like a kid rubbing her nose against her mother's dress. but in the hall the tv is on, and my hair is drying, and it will be an early night because i am tired. our room is messy, laughter flows out of the cupboards and litters the floor.

Thursday, March 01, 2007
bukit timah and bare naked ladies
i vaguely remember being in makeup waiting in the wings, and melissa was listening to this with me. i think i had microecons notes on me, which i would write prettily because i'm stupid when it comes to econ, or maybe it was amath. sin2xcos2x, and a hundred revisions. the night before i had probably slept late. in my dreams, i am walking in slippers down a path with leaves, the canals smell of rot and sweetness.

Here we are again
and we're looking at each other as if each other were to blame.
You think you're so smart, but I've seen you naked
and I'll probably see you naked again.
Milli Vanilli told you to Blame it On The Rain
but if you blame it on the rain tell me
what can be gained so, if all else fails you can blame it on me.

and this one, reminded me of the night just out from daph's house, my fingers slightly sore from the steel guitar strings. i was running with chengyi, she was late. she was going for a concert. i was tired, i passed king albert park on 74? 151? 61?, and there were many fluorescent lights.

If you will not have me as myself,
Perhaps as someone else
Perhaps as you I'll be worth noticing
Then even a eunuch wont resist
The magic of a kiss from such as me

and this one, i was with chit and xuan, we were painting a banner during orientation, i think it had a lot of shoes on it, and i'm sure we lost. we plaited the strings, for no explicable reason. i was in a paint splattered pinafore.

When I was born, they looked at me and said,
"What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy."
And when you were born, they looked at you and said,
"What a good girl, what a what a smart girl, what a pretty girl."

We've got these chains that hang around our necks
people want to strangle us with them before we take our first breath.
Afraid of change, afraid of staying the same,
when temptation calls, we just look away.

I wake up scared, I wake up strange.
I wake up wondering if anything in my life is ever going to change.
I wake up scared, I wake up strange
and everything around me stays the same.

and this one, is me, with french revolution notes, sitting with chit, laughing at jemang and tp, tired, insecure.

I hate to talk like this
I hate to act as if there's something wrong
But I can't say I have this dream at night almost every night
I've been dreaming it forever
It's easy to remember.

i stretch out my arms, gather the strands of the evening.

and this one i listened to from the river, home. it's a long route taking 61 from raffles place to clementi, past old houses, past bukit merah, holland village. i say i can barely remember raffles place, but it exists in my bones, like a terrible scar. i was always tired then. i didn't love you, you know? i'm sorry. i'm sorry to all of you. i loved because i wanted to be in a room with a different view. and when i found that view, life was livid, and surreal. i was larger than myself. how can one not love being larger than herself, writing poetry and being astounded by herself? i melted into those bodies, seeking to be recast like bronze.

i am in new york now. i say this, to convince myself, i am somewhere in time. in december, the sunlight was evasive. one day, i dusted my eyes, and there was no more light. at 4am i stood outside in the wind in chicago, some drunk people walked back. i came back to new york. i undusted my eyes. now i am in my room. i suppose i have always wanted to be here. today my room sank underwater, as i undressed. it was the same blue that filled my bedroom at home, and i shuddered. i sent him a flash of light. flashes of light, i do that a lot these days. goodnight , i dreamt of you. i was laughing with you. , i woke up with the strangest sensation that i had to catch a flight today . where were you going, you asked. i had no idea , i said. that night i said, i love you ; oh, but what was the word i used? out of body near-death experiences. in my dream, i drift above myself, wake up, i say, you have been sleeping for a long time. sleeping gives you headaches, he told me. oh the life of perpetual vacillations, vacillated.

[publishing] Publishers Weekly . Dystel & Goderich . New York Center for Independent Publishing . Association of American University Presses . Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

[people] clarisse . nurul . aunty zarina (ummi's bakery) . jeremy . pak . cyril . softblow . karen & kenny (booksactually) . eric . joel .

[other loves] digitaljournalist . ballet dictionary . poetshouse . urbanwordnyc

[me] dawn, singapore, new york city, ithaca.

[yesterday] holding on tight -- vol ii
death and new york city
ever get afraid of sounding stupid, boring, uninfo...
sleep activism
things im excited about
thinking about flight
accents and attractions
i got an on-campus job--production assistant at th...

[archives] January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009

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