Drima Chakraborty masquerades as a performance artist and poet. They are the communications manager for the LGBT group Bissu and an organiser for Transit in Singapore. Drima's writings have been published in the Singapore Poetry Writing Month 2015, Anima Methodi: The Poetics of Mirroring, and Inside The Bell Jar. They dabble in noise with the experimental group Interdimensional Clown Collective. On all levels, including physical, they are a cat.
I WOULD RATHER HAVE GINGIVITIS THAN LEAVE
ANOTHER TOOTHBRUSH AT A LOVER'S HOUSE
because it always spells the end of whatever daydream we had / "yeah, I have a spare toothbrush for you, for the next time you're over" / has never ended well for either of us / so whenever the frequency and familiarity comes to me having a spare toothbrush in someone's bathroom / I start counting down my days / and I think I'm going to blame the toothbrush instead of myself / for being the symbol of loss / red and bright (my colour's green at home) / like a beacon of dental hygiene and someone catching feelings for someone else / and then running away / it starts with tenderness and ends with me leaving something at your place / the toothbrush / my clothes / a sex toy / a book / and never getting it back / and when I last saw you / we opened a new toothbrush for me / because this time it was a hotel and you had spares / some recycled bamboo going to waste because I never stepped foot in that place again / and the next time I have sex with a stranger / I will stop myself from becoming a friend / better yet / to keep from leaving anything behind / I think I'll carry my sonic toothbrush / in my backpack with me
TODAY HERALDS SPRING
𝑩𝑨𝑰𝑺𝑨𝑲𝑯𝑰 : tonight we will dream as one / a cross-generational nightmare that has been passed down / to us by parents and grandparents / through the school system / with ulterior political motives / or rhetorics of nationalism / in aamir khan movies and documentaries / a dream to herald the beginning of spring
𝑷𝑬𝑶𝑷𝑳𝑬 𝑾𝑬𝑹𝑬 𝑭𝑰𝑹𝑬𝑫 𝑨𝑻 𝑭𝑹𝑶𝑴 𝑯𝑬𝑹𝑬 : more visceral than the bullet-marked walls / and the well you likely leapt into / is standing here / and overlooking the crowd in your head / there you are / looking back at yourself from the bagh / a body in two times and two places / we can see them disperse from up here / but we can also feel them heave as one down over here
𝑴𝒀 𝑫𝑼𝑻𝒀 𝑻𝑶 𝑭𝑰𝑹𝑬 𝑶𝑵 𝑻𝑯𝑬𝑴 𝑨𝑵𝑫 𝑭𝑰𝑹𝑬 𝑾𝑬𝑳𝑳 : each new year / is shadowed by death in amritsar / every piece of the trauma pie is grasped at by filthy hands / folks issued martyr cards with no benefits / but shared evenly / a shame / a stain upon reputation / but never an apology / a hundred years ago we were not there / but we remember
𝑪𝑼𝑹𝑭𝑬𝑾 : each of us alive today was present that evening / at jallianwala bagh / strolling from darbar sahib / or perhaps gathered with purpose / a collective memory shared of sepiatoned soldiers / all exits barred and foregone / the butcher beckons / and the dream is as real as we are / look up / there is the greyscale sky / and we can hear the birds at dusk
Luke Ow is an undergraduate from Nanyang Technological University’s English program who writes across genres. His passion for writing began after a sharing from one of his teachers in Singapore Polytechnic inspired him to write a short story. In 2017, he participated in SRT's Young Company Writers program, where a short play, Together, was produced and staged twice. Luke finds respite in Jazz, European History and DC Comics characters.
Judy Garland’s Zing! Went the Strings of My Heart
Dear when you smiled at me,
I heard a melody
of boys dealing with boredom.
Perhaps you wanted to kill time?
It haunted me.
I was oblivious to your intention,
thinking you merely wanted some conversation.
From the start to its end,
I wanted to smack you
push the table at you
Something inside of me
And I froze as
you turned me into gossip fodder
and laughed at my allergic reaction.
I shrunk into my chair and
Started a symphony
of all the things I could do to avenge me.
So, I complained to a staff
who told your coach
who made you apologise to me
who accepted it (because it was the polite thing to do).
Then we shook hands and never spoke of the matter again.
used to grabbing gold.
How I wish I could repay your gesture in equal measure.
Should be fun to watch your body turn against you,
defy your will.
dependent on the hand who wields them.
But since I have no muscle,
I turn inward and ask “why”.
my mind wanders back to that classroom
when you played me and
Zing! Went the strings of my heart
All italicised words in this poem are taken from the first verse of "Zing! Went the
Strings of My Heart", a song recorded by Judy Garland.