Foo Wee San
Foo Wee San is a compulsive shopper and an eternally hungry teenager. If he’s not sleeping or eating, he’s usually bingeing Netflix shows or working on like... actual work he’s getting paid to do. An aspiring media practitioner, he has no idea what media sector he will be entering after his national service duties. Wee San also loves writing, editing videos, hanging out with his friends, amongst many other things.
If beds could talk
if my bed could talk, it’ll tell me that at 2:57AM last morning,
mummy came into my room (in hand: tiny portable radio, connected to an old pair of Sony earphones; still sleepless)
inverted palm on my forehead, arms heavy (not mum’s spaghetti; burdened by the weight of increasing financial woes; the thought of whether her 79-year-old mother is sleeping well enough
in the hospital)
she tries, but sometimes not hard enough (according to her wealthy brothers; ivory towers
provide an unobstructed view—must buy this property)
‘warm’ she mumbles in Teochew, as her fingers interlock swiftly after
a silent prayer (Subject of Prayer: Goddess of Mercy, Please Help Me, Please; P.S. Covid-19 is
Teresa Teng’s dreamy vocals, unwittingly muffled by the subpar Sony earphones, drowned out
if ward 63, room 17, bed 5 could talk, it’ll tell me that ah ma is
hungry, very very hungry,
but cannot eat
speech therapist say cannot eat
speech therapist say cannot eat
speech therapist say cannot eat
she only just want roast duck
‘come i teach you how to make curry; sarawak chillis, remember!’
prime supermarket good deals
‘pri- prime… prime minister of singapore? i not sure leh missy, is it lee kuan yew?’
ah john got chided for asking ah ma to get better soon so he can eat her curry
ah john’s 2nd grandmother says ah ma cannot let go because she wants to cook curry
all because ah john is very selfish
ah john wants to eat ah ma’s curry
ah ma makes really really good curry; i understand
‘ah john ah, i see your face and i am so happy’ (in Mandarin)
Udaiyaathathu to Papa
i) How Do I Start?
Papa I am very truly sorry, for many reasons
such as the way I talk, the way I walk, the way I struggle with being apologetic. Papa
please do not try to figure out what you and Mama have done wrong, such
answers I can tell you Vishnu has none that you seek so badly so please
revisit Krishna’s words instead. And when you stare into the mirror at night for more answers
remember you are the reason Chandra was raped while grocery shopping in the plaza, revisit
the memory of you sending me to a French boarding school, for prestige, remember?
At least now I know how to speak French—vas te faire foutre , Papa. The
reasons you gave me I could count with one hand. Please try slightly harder.
ii) Patriarchy Is A Terrible Thing, Isn’t It?
Chandra brought out the sweets and fritters for the ‘men of the house’, I remember that
you forcefully pushed the platters out of my reach. Sissies are not men; vice versa. Chandra,
how is she? Is she eating well? I miss her gajar ka halwa  and you
hated them because they were always under-sweetened and you’d lament how
her non-ladylike hands tarnished the integrity of the saccharine paste. Well, she too hated
the nights where she’d jerk you off with the same pair of hands as tears streamed down her
face and collected in her cleavage, which you aptly named the Ganga . Fortunately, the
things you put me through were less harsh in comparison, and I wiped the shame off my face
as you told Mama I should gather all my belongings and pack all my things.
Leave before the neighbours in the adjacent big bungalows find out what had happened. As
I formed a noose with your auburn belt, Chandra’s voice whispered leave
and don’t come back. Mama and I don’t need you, please, just listen I
beg you. The pedestal fan creaked periodically to count down the hours of daylight left and
I saw you in Papa’s room. The auburn belt now stained red; I heard you beg.
Seeing the dark mucky streets hint the unknown of tomorrow, telling me to leave and that I
simply don’t belong here. The black sheep, so to speak. Seeing
that Papa Mama were crying (Papa pseudo-crying), in retrospect, I’d say goodbye Mama.
iii) How Do I End?
I recall Papa used to rear birds, chestnut-breasted partridges, locked up in a rattan cage in the afternoon heat of the veranda. It is a symbol of prestige; a symbol of power says Papa. I
really identified with the partridges. Home was my rattan cage, and every afternoon,
you would pluck my shiny feathers to adorn your lapel, when you meet ministers who really
believed your cause, oops, Trigger Warning: Corruption. You
know, Mama will be happy for you whatever it is, you know? Maybe I finally believed.
Papa, I urge you to listen to Mama. Please know
that just this once, I don’t want you to weep for me, Papa.
Quickly, scatter the ashes into the Ganga—tell Mama that
you are doing it for me; do it quickly.
The end I know is nihilism.
1: Vas te faire foutre is French for ‘fuck you’.
2: Gajar ka halwa is a carrot-based sweet dessert pudding from the Indian subcontinent.
3: Ganga is another term for The Ganges River, the holy trans-boundary river of the Indian subcontinent which flows through the nations of India and Bangladesh.
Sandeep Kumar Mishra
Sandeep Kumar Mishra is an outsider artist, poet and lecturer in English Literature. He runs Kishlaya Outsider Art Academy. He has edited a collection of poems by various poets, Pearls (2002), and written a professional guide book, How to be (2016), a collection of poems and art, Feel My Heart (2016), and an Amazon bestseller poetry collection, One Heart—Many Breaks (2020). He is story mirror author of the year nominee (2019) and IPR Annual Poetry Award Winner (2020).
My clock's been swung to zero
There is no zero on other clocks,
I don't know where my Mom lives,
Previous night my skin felt soft
as she kissed with her wet lips
My mother wishes to listen to me upbeat,
She replies her recent minor emergencies
about her well-being, about how she played
with my siblings and sisters
In any case, she needs me to return to life
I wonder why only humans need to
figure out how to move with reason?
Is that why we nag rationale?
It's been simple not to go there,
I know I should meet her but
I don’t have my mother's address,
My past burdens stop me
to meet her in her promised land