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Autumn Day

Sep. 6th, 2007 | 10:06 am


Herr: es ist Zeit. Der Sommer war sehr groß.
Leg deinen Schatten auf die Sonnenuhren,
und auf den Fluren laß die Winde los.

Befiehl den letzten Früchten voll zu sein;
gieb ihnen noch zwei südlichere Tage,
dränge sie zur Vollendung hin und jage
die letzte Süße in den schweren Wein.

Wer jetzt kein Haus hat, baut sich keines mehr.
Wer jetzt allein ist, wird es lange bleiben,
wird wachen, lesen, lange Briefe schreiben
und wird in den Alleen hin und her
unruhig wandern, wenn die Blätter treiben.

Rainer Maria Rilke


It's time. The summer was so grand.
Lay your shadows on the sundial.
Release the wind in the fields.

Bid the last fruits to be full;
Give them two more southerly days,
Press them to perfection and chase
the last sweetness into heavy wine.

Who has no house now will build no more.
Who is alone will remain so for long,
will stay up, read, write long letters
and will wander uneasily to and fro
through the avenues, when the leaves tremble.

(no subject)

Sep. 5th, 2007 | 09:36 am

I can't let go.

(no subject)

Sep. 4th, 2007 | 10:28 am

What lips my lips have kissed, and where, and why
I have forgotten, and what arms have lain
Under my arms till morning. But the rain
Is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
Upon the glass and listen for reply.
And in my heart there stirs a quiet pain
For unremembered lads who not again
Will turn to me at midnight with a sigh.

Thus in winter stands a lonely tree,
Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one,
Yet knows its boughs more silent than before:
I cannot say what loves have come and gone.
I only know that summer sang in me
A little while, that in me sings no more.

Edna St Vincent Millay


I first read this about four years ago, I don't know how: perhaps some classmate brought it to class as a presentation project; perhaps I read it online in some poetry archive. It's one of the numerous sonnets I can recite from memory, and for some reason it's one of my favorites. I remember scribbling it over and over on bits of paper to pass the interminable hours of national service (they seemed interminable then: now I look back and realise that, like everything else, those hours were temporary).

Did love cool so quickly, and am I only left with the shards of a memory? I have in mind the flashes of light that dance off broken glass: I have snapshots of feeling absolute and complete bliss, thinking to myself: this can't end, this won't.

But the heart wants what it can't have: solidity, unshiftingness, permanence, eternity. I've tried so hard to tell myself that I must steel myself against the dire and inevitable consequence, but even now as I edge myself closer towards realising that possibility I feel as if I am dying: a secret pain that threatens to overflow (through my tear ducts, through my mucal glands) and overtake me (doesn't that sound like a Mariah Carey lyric?).

I don't want to be that lonely tree.

the gift of giving

Aug. 30th, 2007 | 09:02 pm

So Monday my mother rings me up and tells me:

"Son, can you buy gifts for all your cousins and your grandmother? And maybe your brother too."

Which totally freaked me out. I have thirteen cousins on my maternal side and four on my paternal. I do not know what to do with all of them.

So I have decided to buy all of them books. Not just any old book - books that have been important to me at some point or other in my life - so far I have Thom Gunn's collected poems and Maxine Hong-Kingston's The Woman Warrior.


Remembrance of things present

Aug. 26th, 2007 | 11:26 pm

I am freaked out. I've never really felt like this before: it's like being on the edge of something new, standing on knife-edge: a false move could slice your feet off. I don't know if I'm making sense, but really none of the poets ever prepare you for falling (now I understand the metaphor, I always thought it a metaphor but it really is falling, I feel a physical sensation of tumbling downwards, being sucked into a gravitational spiral, controlled by forces outside of your control, the metaphor is so perfect and all triteness ring true) in love and now.

Only now do I realise that nothing in the past felt like this. And I fear that nothing in the future will be like this: can you ever fall in love twice? Do you ever fall in love with the right person?

Because it sure feels like a disease - now I know why being tuberculotic was often associated with being passionate. Your body feels taken over by several things that are not your own: you start feeling things you never felt before, pain that is not yours, joy that is not yours. You are forced out of your own bubble of existence, forced to live for someone else, forced to embrace feelings other than your own.

And yet how breathtaking: falling -

It never feels the same twice, every little tingle seems fresh. "I want to hug you softly," and all troubles melt into nothingness, every sadness that ever was disappears and every morning is a new begininng of possibilities. That's love, I'm sure of it, I can't be wrong, I spent so long trying to find it in novels, in sonnets, in films, and now when it's finally here it feels more fiction than fact, more art than life, more perfect that I could have ever imagined. (All triteness rings true.)

Stanford here I come!

Aug. 26th, 2007 | 07:58 am

Originally uploaded by daikonradish
Looking through my old pictures I chance upon an album from ages ago: from when I visited Stanford, California, in 2004. It was really amazing - I'd never been on a university campus where everyone actually wants to be there. And the sky - it's always that crazy shade of bluer-than-blue. I really can't wait to go back and rock it.

Gareth doing kungfu

Aug. 25th, 2007 | 10:20 pm

Gareth doing kungfu
Originally uploaded by daikonradish
Isn't my baby cousin cute? Well, he's not a baby any more. But he's the same old cutie I know from when I was a student in JC and he was just a little baby bundle. He's grown up into a really adorable toddler - he says the most intelligent things and asks the most intelligent questions, so I can only shudder to think how the world will destroy that wide-eyed innocence.

Jane's best side

Aug. 25th, 2007 | 09:32 pm

Jane's best side
Originally uploaded by daikonradish
I found this foto in my Flickrstream and just had to add it - isn't it hilarious? Somehow Jane and I are excellent at taking photos of us and our mutual friends - we always manage to colour us wrongly, or catch us in between expressions, or add extra appendages (e.g. Crystal with the Bangla-worker hairclip). Here you see her with a hand for an eyelash. :p

Happy Birthday Amogh!

Aug. 24th, 2007 | 09:24 pm

Originally uploaded by daikonradish
So two weeks ago Amogh's mother, Malathi Aunty, calls me up at about 6.30 in the morning when I'm all snuggly-wuggly with the German.

"Hello Jirey," she says in her hoarse voice, in that amusing Indian accent. She hasn't gotten my name right in 6 years. "I am planning a special surprise birthday party for Amogh.

"Now, our friend," for indeed she frequently refers to Amogh as our mutual friend, "doesn't want a party. So I need your help. It's going to be a surprise. But I don't know any of his friends, so you have to help me to call them. No problem the number. Just let me know."

So I set off on the elusive quest of finding Amogh's friends on his behalf, which was relatively amusing. I pinned them down to a few main groups: ex-classmates, RJC councillors, army guys, law faculty people and Indians. So on Tuesday evening we all assembled in the Pan Pacific and awaited eagerly his arrival.

Poor boy didn't even have a clue, not even when he saw so many of us. It was not until someone whacked him on the head with the truth that he realised that it was a cunning plan.

BTW that is his birthday cake. It's a weird Indian dessert made out of carrot and shaped into a heart. Sometimes Malathi Aunty has the most twisted sense of humour (I am reminded of the Hindu god of dance in their house, placed between two disco balls). I couldn't stop laughing for a good five minutes, which was probably the reason why people were staring.

Anyway, HAPPY 21ST BIRTHDAY AMOGH! You can now drive and vote. Oh wait this is Singapore. Oh well, you can drive!

Only in Geylang

Aug. 24th, 2007 | 01:03 pm

Originally uploaded by daikonradish
I brought David to meet my friends in Geylang, where we wanted to eat durians and beef hor fun. The durians cost us 65 bucks. Can you believe that?

Walking from the fruit stall to the beef hor fun place we discovered this amazing clothing store that sells the most amazing hooker couture you've ever seen in your entire life. Just FYI, I totally want that US flag sequinned dress. It's so fucking HAWT.