Old Heroes


Do you still remember?
A time when you were free:
Proud and playful
Aloft and arrogant
Lively and lithe;
Sunbright Wukong, defiant Lucifer

And yet now you contemplate
Being moulded and remade,
Shaped like a story
Bound and submitted
Read like a book

Eve taking the Fruit never
Realised the wyrm inside
Eating into their only certain core
This black fire, blackest of them all;
Because knowledge can be a Gordian shackle

She stoked
The green-eyed malevolence and
You forged
The blade to bind your fire
And together you were consumed

In a stumbling labyrinth of meanings,
Can you still remember the tart and acrid taste of freedom?
Or does the draught of forgetful reincarnation become you?

Wukong would have stormed away
Lucifer lit up a thousand luminous sun,
Elphaba electrified with trembling rage;
Yet here you quiver, trapped in myths not yours –
Can you still remember

Your own?

An old journal I unearthed today had a long poem spontaneously scribbled down during my epic overland trip from Hanoi back to Singapore [more on that eventually]. Very likely i wrote this while having a very early breakfast at TBS, the transport hub in Kuala Lumpur while waiting for the bus to Melaka. A 4am poem – how utterly romantic. 

A lament on how love, or attraction, can change us: whether in ways we want to or not. I had spent more or less the entire solo trip fighting an inner turmoil about someone dear to me. It is a crippling, awful thing to be in love. Suddenly your thoughts and your emotions are no longer yours. Some person bursts into your life and takes them all hostage.

I was nearing the end of this particular relation with a rather strange person who was making a whole list of strange preposterous demands on me, and invoking INDEPENDENCE AND SOVEREIGNTY as and when it suited her. I should have walked away then. Instead, I wrote this poem in impotent fury. A few weeks later Miss Independent walked out on her own accord.

I know this poem may be incoherent, but to come back to it after so many months, and to realise how spontaneously it was written pleases myself mightily. The entire poem is much lengthier, and will be published in parts. This is the first part. A meditation on losing oneself in finding another, borrowing from old childhood antiheroes.     


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