Postcard from the Moon

Send me postcards

from moon craters

and hollow spaces.

Send me seashells

burned by the sun

touched by your dark.

Send me roses

from the garden of Eden

cursed by the heathen.

Send me letters

written out of love

signed by another.

Send me a ticket

to leave this despair

to leave their care.

Send me the fare

of that ticket.

Send me

the moon

I’m already in the craters

I only know hollow spaces.



To Pauline Wong

A deer
you taught me
how to stretch
my fingers around
crotchets and minims
how to read
clefs and breves

A drop
I pause and begin
at the tap of your foot
the rap on my knuckles
the metronome stands
nothing but a symbol

A name
you gave me
patience in semibreves
happiness in quavers
fleeting semiquavers
and I showed off
with the demisemis

A long long way
we exist in two timezones
You said one day
we’ll watch an orchestra
together at the Esplanade
I still wait for that day

A needle
I, the thread
that you tried so hard
my fingers to unknot
“Octopus hand”
you say when my wrist
raises itself as I attempt
to reach beyond an octave

A note
you play
for me to sing
the examiner must
be impressed
I must not tarnish
your repute
But Aural always
took me over

A drink
one day we’ll share
when I find you again
It’s been seven years
and counting
but you’ll always be
the one that taught me
how to practice
how to feel
how to be
my art

And you will bring me back to

No one knows me like the piano
in my mother’s home
– Sampha


Cheers to Babylon

We’ll meet again one day

in Babylon, it’s not far away

I’ll lay out my armour

you’ll leave your armchair

We’ll sing tales of old

We’ll find out in time

Mozart’s unfinished requiem

You’ll play Lacrimosa

and I’ll call you Barbarossa

We’ll look for St. Clementine

is he still on his tea and croissants?

We’ll sing of Galileo

and reminisce Ronnie Dio

Do you think he feels hollow

Despite them chanting

Eppur Si Muove

And when you’ve found love

And I’ve found life

we’ll send each other postcards

written in the dark

in the shadows of a theater

while Lubitsch paints a story

and we find we’re turning thirty

We’ll raise our pens in silence

Cheers to Babylon.


Barfuß am Klavier

Is it okay to want to play

everything at once

I’ll be barefoot at the piano

and naked at the harp

Can I sing you a lullaby

without losing my rhythm

Can I bid you goodbye

but not for eternity

Will you let me come back

and play you Chopin

Will you let me fly away

and learn the ukulele

Do you think I could save the world

one song at a time

Cool down the earth

with my equations

Could I extricate

all your knowledge

Is it a labyrinth

is it too intricate

Can I mix it all

my art and my science

Can I just be

a busker on the street

Would it hurt you to know

I’ve played it all

but all I want to be is

Barfuß am Klavier



via Daily Prompt: Hideout

I needed a prompt to let the floodgates out this time. I have a scar on my arm and I don’t know where it came from. I have discovered divinely immersive music after a long time. Tigran Hamasyan, Shai Maestro, Takuya Kuroda, Thelonius Monk and a little more Jazz make up my evening playlists. I have a very strong feeling that I need to be doing something else, i.e. not research, with my life. But I don’t know what and I’m unsure as to whether I even want to find out. Maybe I’m comfortable with the idea of a comfortable position as a scholar or researcher. But as was said in Dead Poets’ Society, isn’t poetry, romance, beauty and love what we live for? Do I need a noble pursuit to justify my existence or is that an overly exaggerated, capitalistic view? Do I owe it to my parents to keep pushing on in this field? I think I know the answer to the last question.

I need to know what constitutes satisfaction. Happiness, I am aware of. But true satisfaction, I have yet to experience. The mental kind, not the physical. Is it the practicalities of life clashing with the picture I’ve painted in my head of what life should be like? Is it just a childish pursuit of idealism that has left me in want of a state that I may never attain? Am I asking too many questions, throwing a fishing line into a polluted river and expecting the finest catch? Can I be trusted with finding my way in this world?

And if I assume this is all an illusion, why does that have to make it less real? Can curiosity get any curioser (“and curioser!” Cried Alice)? Am I painting the person in the mirror with impermanent watercolors? Am I too enraptured by fleeting encounters that were never meant to be? Or is this all just an excuse for me to hole up in my hideout and bury my head in the sand when reality comes knocking at my door?

We are all stardust

There is beauty in the in-betweens
in the infinite discourses of time and space and breath
in the nuances of the unintentional
the moments seen, tiptoe away, unheard

To know all that is within is without
and all that is lost may be found
in recesses forgotten, in disparate encounters
in a look met, a look given

There is depth in the silence
in a view shared, between this and that
in the leap between F minor and A major
when you’re swaying to a tune, but steady

To seek anonymity in travel
Blending in order to observe
and when observed, to be understood
To obnubilate in order to expose

And in the in-betweens, the silence
in every inflection, every glance and riposte
There is meaning in need of cognizance
There are stars in need of fuel.

Why Post Rock is Underrated

I don’t know too many people that feel this way but I know quite a few who do; I’m speaking of the feeling of watching a movie based on a novel. The movie can never compare to the novel, at least in my opinion. When you read the novel, you set the landscape, the characters, no matter how detailed a description has been given in the book, it’s going to be you who decides what the story looks like. You decide what colour the light is, what exact shade of green the author is talking about, how the wrinkles on the older characters remind you of your grandparents. Hermione didn’t look like Emma Watson in my head, Robert Langdon never resembled Tom Hanks. When I watched the movies, I felt kind of cut off from them, as though I was seeing fleeting parts of the novels the way they look in someone else’s head. They weren’t bad, but they weren’t something I could feel for; they were a passive form of entertainment, something that I wouldn’t go back to, the way I’d devour the novels over and over again.

Post rock is the novel. Rock and roll is the well-directed movie, the one you’d like to watch when you’re curled up on the couch after a long day. EDM is the genre I’d just avoid altogether, like those over-hyped, over-advertised movies that leave you disappointed because the trailer turned out to be better than the full-length thing. I love how almost all post rock is instrumental, how they just don’t bother with the human voice, how it makes you realize the insignificance of our species. Classical has too much structure, it is beautiful but in the way you’d call a well-groomed, well-to-do woman, beautiful. Post rock is beautiful the way your girl-next-door with no makeup is when she’s fully absorbed in her craft, eyes wide and focused, hands poised, hair astray and mind working overtime with a pencil in her mouth. She’s more relatable, has more depth. You can empathize with her difficulties, her struggles and see how strong and beautiful she is through her character. Lady Classical however, leaves you admiring her from a distance, a beauty that’s practiced to perfection, out of your league, carefully manicured and maintained, few struggles in life, always in the care of some man with a sharp mind. With no craft to speak of and no dramatic story to her life, she’s someone you’d get bored of after a few hours of listening to her. The man says vivace, she runs fast, but always in dainty little steps; the man says lento, she slows down to a waltz, timed to the tick of the metronome. Classical is the mandatory reading on your high school literature class reading list, Julius Caesar’s arms conducting the symphony.

I love how post rock has weaved its own space in the music world, albeit with lesser fans. Where’s the music video? Where’s the twerking or the lead singer that’s stoned out of his mind? Where are all the supermodels and rich kid parties, clubhouses and big titties? There is something so classy about post rock that parallels the likes of Bach and Chopin. Something crazy and rebellious about it like Prokofiev, playful like Debussy and genius like Mozart. There’s something dark about it like Dream Theater; something violent about it like Avenged Sevenfold; something meaningful like Guns and Roses. It’s not about love stories and heartbreak, it’s about everything. Everything that the world encompasses and you can fill the music with your own lyrics, your own thoughts, shaping them like a forest, towering above the oceans. It’s your landscape to paint, the music gives you the mood, sets a background score. It’s a beautifully underrated genre. I wish I could say more but I do not want to bore you. Here’s a list of albums to start off with, I think YouTube shall do a better job than me at providing recommendations after you listen to these (these are in no particular order; I’d recommend the band ‘Break my Fucking Sky’ to start off with) :

  1. Take Care, Take Care, Take Care – Explosions in the Sky
  2. Eviscerate Soul – Break My Fucking Sky
  3. All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone – Explosions in the Sky
  4. The Bones of a Dying World – If These Trees Could Talk
  5. All Is Violent, All Is Bright – God is an Astronaut
  6. The Earth Is Not a Cold Dead Place – Explosions in the Sky
  7. Not All Who Wander Are Lost – Paint The Sky Red
  8. In Silence We Yearn – Oh Hiroshima
  9. Circles – Degree of Arc

(I have a soft spot for ‘Paint The Sky Red’; they’re from Singapore)