Sunday, August 21, 2016

coffeeshop, one morning in march 2011

This one may not be much, but it captures a slice of life in our heartlands. I wrote this for NaPoWriMo 2011.

Sorry, this is pretty localised, foreign readers may not know what i am writing about. :)

photo by dsnake1

coffeeshop, one morning in march 2011

the cleaner
rubs my table
with a greasy rag.

i do not know
where to rest
my cup of tea.

he looks at me
and smiles.
i thank him.


"Hard work never killed anybody, but why take a chance?"

-- Edgar Bergen

Shared on Poetry Pantry #316 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, August 07, 2016

old graffiti

This is from my 2009 NaPoWriMo archives.

When I was younger, I used to write down my thoughts on paper with a pencil, in bound journals and ring notebooks. Most were just rants and doggerel. Much was thrown away. Maybe I shouldn't have. There were some decent and very good poetry (i think), like those in the period just after my military service, that were lost when I moved from place to place. My heart still aches when I think about it. :(

photo by dsnake1

old graffiti

it was just
rows of
faded pencil marks
on a yellowed page

scratched in a naive hand
brash but unsure
small steps
like a baby's

for words
for that
great poem

even the strokes
were angry
the mood
probably too

but the elusive
creatures,the words
stayed hidden

and that was why
that poem
never met
the light

of day


“Sometimes things become possible if we want them bad enough.”

T.S. Eliot

Shared on Poetry Pantry #314 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, July 31, 2016


Some time in the not-too-distant past, there was this little skill and past-time called letter writing. Words were not a string of zeroes and ones, but were ink on paper, and arrived in envelopes with postmarks. Sometimes, it takes weeks to reach you, which is unthinkable of now. But the joy of it, when you see the letter in the mailbox (a real physical box of metal nailed to a wall)

I had a pen-pal from a neighbouring country. We exchanged letters and first day covers regularly. And then, like all good things, it came to an end. The letters became less and less, a trickle, and finally ceased. I guessed we each had our own needs and priorities to attend to. But it was a great experience while it lasted.

pencil sketch by dsnake1


but it was not to be

i could have taken
a train
to meet you.
we could even have
met halfway
at Kluang
have a coffee
shake hands

but we just write
our letters

and then
other things
and took over our

and the letters
became less


and then

it was not to be.

nov 2011

to bernadette, wherever you may be.

"Thus having spoke she turned away and though I found no words to say
I stood and watched until I saw her black cloak disappear."

-- Uriah Heep, Lady in Black

Shared on Poetry Pantry #313 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, July 17, 2016

the letters

I have posted this story before, but i think it is a rather nice tale, so here it is again. :)

I wrote this short story for some competition. The rules are simple. The story will be completed in 3 parts and each part must be less than a hundred words. A key word is provided for each part of the story, and it must be present in it. When the first part is submitted, the keyword for the next part will be provided. When all the three parts are submitted, a winner will be picked.

The keywords were as follows : post office, discover, letter.

No, I did not win anything.:)

photo by Sergey81 at

the letters

I passed this quaint little post office on my way to and from work each day. It was a sturdy brick and steel building, nestled in a quiet neighbourhood. But what interested me was not the post office itself, but a pretty lady who was always around the place when I returned home in the evenings. Dark-haired, slim, so dainty that a rush of wind could blow her away, she sat on the steps of the post office, under the porch lights, reading some letters. As the days passed, she intrigued me more and more.

Finally, one evening, after much debate, I decided to speak to the lady, but she was not there when I arrived. And the following nights too. So on an off-day, I was at the post office sending parcels when I asked Sato-san, the postmaster, about the lady. With a quizzical stare, he told me her husband was away in the war, the Islands. She would be here at the post office, waiting for his war-zone letters . And then very strangely, he warned me to keep away from her . What I have discovered so far only deepens the mystery.

Now I know more about love and the human heart in these few weeks than in my entire life. You see, her husband never made it back from Iwo Jima. Day after day, she read that government letter, until her heart broke. They found her dead one day, on that post office porch, her tears still wet on those fair cheeks. And all this happened before I moved into this neighbourhood. I should be afraid, very afraid, but now I am not afraid anymore. As I stepped out of the porch, the fireflies scattered into the scented night.

Aug 2012

if i could pluck the stars
put them in a jar
will you come back to me?

--dsnake1, longing

Shared on Poetry Pantry #311 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Sunday, July 10, 2016


Do you still remember the first dance you had? I still do, though it happened eons ago. Probably because it's the first time, the partner is pretty, and the music in the right groove. Yes, it was vinyl records then...

pencil sketch by dsnake1


that dance
       it plays
       all over
like a jammed vinyl
       when i hear
       that song
in a store
the train the radio
though it has been
       a lifetime
we left
and still
like a bridge
across time
       i see
just the two
of us
though there are others
on the dance floor
       my hand
on your slim waist
your warm body
close to mine
a hint
of heady

and me
trying very hard
not to step
       on your shoes.

written 14/04/09
revised 23/06/09

To Janice, wherever you may be.

Your time has come to shine
All your dreams are on their way.

-- Paul Simon, Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #310 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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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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Sunday, June 26, 2016

bell bottoms & hotpants

“It takes a very long time to become young.”

― Pablo Picasso

colour pencil drawing by dsnake1

bell bottoms & hotpants

the fading polaroids
peel back the years
smile back at me
big hair
big girls

and i hear the mermaids making promises again

they think they are Fawcett clones
sashaying down the street
their bags swinging
their short skirts
threatening to ride higher
their laughter
are the songs that lure
the seafarers to the rocks.

meet you at barbarella's
they would say
that would blow me a chunk
of my pay
but i would be there
in my best polyester
trying to do the hustle
and never good with it

but they are gorgeous
my vivacious mermaids
skipping, bobbing on the dance floor
in their platform shoes
under the disco ball
i cannot forget the way
they twirl the ice cubes in their lemon tea
their tongues licking the plastic stirrers
their lithe bodies wet
sticking to tube tops
their glossy legs in hotpants
crossed on faux leather sofas
as they bum and smoke my cigarettes
on bee-stung lips

"shut up, tell me how do i look
why that sad face, think about my, you know...
i like you but you have been taken.
you don't know what's true hurt is, i do"

and then we all moved on
time and rank pulled us all


we grow old
we grow apart
we fall in love
we trip and fall
we die a little bit
and i hear the songs fade away
and the dreams they fall apart too
and a rain rolls over
a shifting wasteland
and the mermaids no longer sing

until one aching night

\ \\ \\

outside the windows a sudden rain.
a rattling of window panes.

they may be calling me already.


when we were younger, we thought we could live forever...

the mermaids making promises again


from “Notes on Melancholia” by M.A. Vizsolyi

This poem was inspired by the lines from the above poem (and some mind wanderings on a cold night). This is a prompt from the Bibliomancy Oracle. It can work in seductive ways.

Shared on Poetry Pantry #308 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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