Napkin Philosophy

“To love.  To be loved.  To never forget your own insignificance.  To never get used to unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you.  To seek joy in the saddest places.  To pursue beauty to its lair.  To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple.  To respect strength, never power.  Above all, to watch.  To try and understand.  To never look away.  And never, never to forget.”

By Arundhati Roy, words scribed on a napkin, “The End of Imagination” (1999).

Kita Air

The play with water, like lyrical bathing.  A forever stored memory washes up as the feet get wet.  I am back in infant school, pouring water through wheels, watching them spit liquid and spin like Catherine’s sphere.  I remember the vast pool where all the flows fall in.  Green aprons drenched, cheeks flushed, gurgling outwards at the revelation of discovery.

There, a degraded past in the now, comes and lives in the motions of washing and bathing in my equatorial escape.  I am a child again, and always so it seems.  The point at which I can no longer seem to be impressed, I am at my most impressionable.  The rawness of age is an awareness of how young we are.  All part of the experiment.

Taps drip busily and the  sink is filled.  The bucketing movement is finished, the past shifts away.  I change, and clean, and move outside, to where there is a day freshening.  Rainclouds sidle across the sky, and I remember – we are water.

Girl Shroud


A world of microphonic chanting.

Mosque to mosque,

the pitch and tremer …

a sound-map emerges.


Ascending into soporificity,

turning into condensation

as the song sweats from

hot mountains.


Girl shroud.


Until morning dusk.


Calling her wisdom

into leather hands

holding God.


Bandaged knee,

composition on a bag of peas.

Correcting and amending,

the outcome still pending,

a triumph of ending –

terimah kasih!

Alphabets and Oboes

Water placed into caramel,

the thick wetness subdued

– with an additional insect on the side.


Learning numbers and letters,

alphabets and oboes,

warmth like  a night jumper …