Perhaps, tea


the boiling teapot brought back memories
arm in hand they’d walked down the aisle
best man and bridesmaid of best friends
it had all started at the rehearsal dinner

when he arrived late and flustered
though she’d been on time, awaiting
her mascara was on before his coat
yet she’d had to wait up for him to suit up

couldn’t bear to see him in the face, anger
brimming on the surface, so threatening
she glanced aside to set her mind at ease
for tardiness was as good as neediness

a cup of tea she’d had as she waited


the boiling teapot jerked her to reality
sitting at home, the mighty housewife
cleaning, washing, washing, and cleaning
everyday household chores multiplying

she’d woken up early that morning
way before he’d even stifled a yawn
yet she stayed in bed for him to rise
for her beloved had to dress, to work

man of the house he was breadwinner,
and she bread maker, just a part-timer
she had much time, she needn’t rush
wasn’t like she had a wedding to blush

perhaps first, she’d have a cup of tea


The intervention

Chap. Chap. Genny slathered her lips with the little moisture left in her tongue. Her throat had dried out before she’d passed out. And though awake now, she still felt too dizzy to stand up and walk to the kitchen sink. She extended a weak left arm to the bottled water on the table over her head. It’d been standing there where she left it three nights ago, when she returned from Michael’s new apartment. Though she’d gotten the house, the furniture, and the friendly neighbourhood, he’d somehow come out of the divorce far more satisfied than she.

The bottle toppled from the table, plopping on the floor beside her. Luckily, the cap was still on. Twisting it open she drank like she’d never seen the flavourless liquid before. As the insides of her parched throat gulped the water, she remained lying on the floor, her body turned sideways, propped up by her right arm.

When she’d had her fill, she set the bottle down, careful not to tip it over. Then turned around and fell asleep.

Beyond her glass windows, the sun went down again. As the light faded away, it glinted on the dining table china, the framed photos she’d forgotten to dust off, and the wall art her three-year-old had done at school. Darkness engulfed them all.

She hadn’t noticed the sun rise that morning. Or the day before that. She hadn’t heard the cockatoos cawing on her roof, or observed the wintry breeze lashing the surface of the lake across the street.

It’s amazing what a bottle of whisky could do. The stench of stale alcohol had masked the smell from rain water dribbling down her garden soil. She slept peacefully—oblivious to the world revolving around her, forgetting the pain of losing her family, ignoring the aftermath of that drunken accident. The corpse of her bloody child no longer haunted her dreams. Gone were the shrieks and wails of her younger self. Tires screeched no more. Michael’s arm wasn’t round her shoulders anymore. And they weren’t the couple pretending to move on.

No more. Of any of that bullshit. Only sleep.

That’s all she had now.




It didn’t stop until Genny forced herself to sit up. Suffocating darkness pressed around her.

She opened the door to a bright full moon above.

And below, a puppy walked into her life, bringing along a flood of light.

Cry, my dearest

Cry now little one, cry now
for life’ll only get harder
the rain will ruin your dress
and the wind will mess your hair
play dates will uninvite you
vacations will be cancelled
your dolls will lose their hair
toy cars will shed their wheels
classmates will turn out bullies
and alleyways become scary
your exams will be challenging
and bitterness will rein aloud
prom night will be disappointing
embarrassment overshadowing
friends will no longer be true
and reality will seem so unreal
breakups will bring in tears
but ice cream will rectify fears
well—for a while, at least,
you’ll leave high school with a high
and soon realise ’twas all a heist
when open arms welcome you
into the world you’ll go, bravely
before you see how you’re stupid
ignorance, you’ll understand is bliss
when you don’t count empty beer cans
you’ll drive home every day, insane
damn office politics casting you down
and you’ll throw open your door
facing the bundle you left home—
that bundle of laundry pending
and the bundle of dishes still dirty
bundle in the corner overflowing with trash
while the biggest bundle’s on the couch
the smallest on the cot by your bed
why, welcome home, dear mom,
come hither it’ll wail your ear off
then, my dear, you’ll have no tears
so cry now, little one, cry now

Artists are sad people

I’ve been living in Canberra for almost two months now. And for a long time, I had trouble believing that I now lived in a first-world country. The main reason is that I grew up in a place where sidewalks are unheard of and pedestrians are more close to the pyre than they are to having priority in the streets. I walked about a kilometre every day to work and every day I grazed whizzing motorcycles, trying hard not to jump at the horns blaring next to my ear.

I don’t mean to sound depressed.

But I was.

It‘s hard not to be. In a society like that, people don’t live—they subsist. Every day is a struggle to get through. There’s always something or another to worry about: bills, rent, school fees, office politics, weak knees, unidentifiable skin allergies, lack of health insurance, yada yada.

And as a blogger, I had so much to talk about. To complain. Things I wished would be better, public services that could’ve existed, footpaths that should’ve been paved, and scowls we could do without.

All these emotions and opinions fed my creativity.

In Canberra, however, I have none of the negative feelings I used to have. For the first time in my life, I don’t have pressing matters chocking my existence, barring my experience of life.

In other words, I have almost nothing to complain about.

That’s scary. Because without something or someone to whine about, I have no writing material. I’ve hit a hurdle, except that this isn’t the dreaded writer’s block.

This is happiness.

Although it’s what I’ve always wanted to achieve for myself, this also terrifies me. Now, unlike before, I don’t have a raging flame fuming my words. Instead, I have to find an impetus elsewhere. I have to work harder to come up with material because my life has nothing newsworthy about it.

Perfect isn’t always good, remember.

When I realised this a week ago, I was anxious at first. Now that life’s plenty of good things, I didn’t know how I‘d sustain as a writer without all the bad things to reflect upon.

Then I understood something big.

So what if all I did today was bussing to the city back? So what if I’m living an ordinary life?

I’m finally free. Free to imagine.

Fine wine indeed

Like wine was our relationship
those mellow tones at the beginning,
deep and divine flavours soon evoking
it could cut through all bitterness
each sip unlike the one before
left us both whining for more
every day we cherished our prize
drowning sorrows in sweet shiraz
our conversations revolved around it
giving expecting voices a chance to rise
halfway through lightheaded we were
having said too much already to take
shoving pizza helped calm the nerves
a temporary solution for aching insides
like plaster made of oil and water
only so good before it slides all over
for unlike ever before we’d talked
and what a shame to stop progress
now past that intoxication point
and so we plunged on, on and on
draining the last of the fine wine
inhaling like oxygen under water
exhaling grape breaths of regret
oh, those eight servings of wine
gone without even lasting four
laid out flaws in plain vain sight
the gluttony, greed, hidden hatred
ending the mighty fight for high
all that remained, of wine, of us
was a broken bottle and a slit wrist