ERIC LOW SOON LIANG
Eric Low lives and works in singapore in the audio-visual industry; wishes he
could live a little more and work a little less. Publication credits include
Capsule, Santa Clara Review, Salt River Review, Shampoo and Blackmail Press.
I rose before you did
in that hazy half-light
between dawn and today.
In an anonymous window
right across the street,
intent on cracking an egg
trying to make breakfast and
already, an ambulance
turning cold by the sidewalk.
Paramedics hang around,
squatting by the pavement.
A few coffee addicts
waiting for their shift to end.
A light breeze enters to rearrange your hair.
I closed the windows
as softly as I could,
for you to sleep on it a little more
at least till your eyes dried
Quietly, I cleared the pieces
of a broken something,
and after that, the rest of everything
then returned to the sofa,
pretended to be asleep
so we could all lie a little longer.
Points From Passing By
The red Honda went passed us way too fast;
everyone knew something would happen.
So it sliced into the nearest convenient taxi,
and we accompanied it with stunned smiles.
"Shall I volunteer as the witness?" my cousin asked me.
"Something good might come out of it."
says the 24 hours insurance man.
Somewhere up ahead, the wreckage smoked into
fat dragons that streaked upwards,
and turned into rows of eager men
with whatever thatís handy
to collect numbers.
The Honda driver was already out
(everyone guessed it would either be a young one, female, or both)
and tried to wing it as someone else's fault.
The Taxi driver was yelling into his mobile.
Officially, the story was:
He was entirely innocent, and compensation was needed.
Allies for both sides arrived,
through their well wishes and name cards,
they all professed to know
someone else who could help.
The tow truck came with calculators and receipts.
The passing cars, automatic windows coming down
slowed to take in the scene,
shaking their heads with the necessary amount of sadness.
Way behind in the queue,
people were already guessing "Accident".
No one noticed the taxiís passenger passing out on the grass.
Despite the experience,
no one came to check.
You take to launching straw helicopters
from your kitchen window,
pulling yourself higher
till you're almost hanging
from the bars
painted to look just like steel.
You're on tiptoes to follow them
spinning all the way down.
hand is filled with the last of them,
so you throw them one at a time
to prolong everything,
till even the most bent and handicapped one
Then you slide the grille aside,
and contemplate the mess you've made.
Downstairs, a crowd comes together
and starts to point.
They've repainted the school.
I warned the rest.
In the closest beige they could find
from all our memories complied and revised.
Painted it three times over and made clean the walls
we scribbled vulgarities, loves, ambitions over,
for another year's aspirations.
this beige will never fit.
It will always be too new for us.
Nevertheless, everyone appreciates the gesture.
Everybody wonders how this new beige would turn out.
I arrived with the others;
the athlete, the class clown, the Romeo.
now the businessman, the lawyer, the emotionally-bankrupted.
All unrecognisable, with the same shirt and tie agendas,
two lugging boys they never thought of having,
the others pulling lives they never dreamt of wanting.
We walked around open-mouthed and foolish,
like the first day we arrived
from the lives our parents wanted us to play
and then, into this.
It felt odd to watch other people's children tumbling
corridors like how we once did.
Tracing our fingers over cracks
three batches of promised paint couldn't cover
and then to turn and expect the great wooden staircase from before
only to meet a section of brick we've never touched before.
It felt worse, to be utterly lost in somewhere
I spent the best four years of my life
before growing up and meeting the world
with its long brick walls and everyone else behind it.
I was standing near the old Scouts' Den;
where the big black tree
everyone believed to be immortal,
would have been.
I found a match near where I lit my first cigarette.
Half-buried and right-angled by the daily shuffling of sand,
I almost believed it could be the same one I started back then.
I remembered shivering
unable to hold the flames steady,
mostly unable to stop grinning
for fear someone would come for us.
At fifteen, half the joy of smoking
was the prospect of being caught.
Still, I kept it as a memento,
and when no one was looking;
rubbed a little mud on a repainted wall that feels familiar,
to recollect a little of those four years of my life,
before returning to the rest of it
along with the rest of all of us.
Back to Front.