Sunday, December 13, 2015

Friday, December 04, 2015

On Exercise

I wonder how many calories I lose running away from my feelings

Monday, November 23, 2015

Dear God

Thanks for cursing me with both atheism and an attraction to Christian girls.

Not helping your case much.

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


When they said
in storybooks and comic books
that a villain
"can't love",
I used to think
that their heart was a fire,
engulfed in hate;
that their interaction with the world outside their brain
was nothing more than a detestation,
abject loathing -
a rejection, if you will -
of the innate goodness
of the human condition.

Or I also thought that
"can't love"
meant that their heart was a stone:
solid, permanent,
and unaffected by the outside world;
not a fiery inferno of hate,
not a smouldering coal of resentment,
just a cold, hard, unchanging

But I have since learned that
"can't love"
doesn't have to be the firestorm of hatem
or the cold stone of unfeeling,
but it can also be
the startled kitten of fear,
the small curled up ball that doesn't trust anything, anyone
won't trust anything, anyone
can't trust anything, anyone
because it's been kicked once
and doesn't want
to be kicked

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Epistle to the Heavenites

1 Dear God,  

2 Here’s another prayer
You’re not going to answer.
But it’s okay,
because I forgive You.

3 I forgive You
for telling a guy to commit infanticide
just to prove his faith;
it’s nothing personal, it’s just mythology.

4 I forgive You
for the divine battles fought under Your banner
and the holy blood spilled in Your name;
it’s nothing personal, it’s just history.

5 I forgive You
for the hurricanes and earthquakes,
for water-filled lungs and bodies buried beneath buildings;
it’s nothing personal, it’s just geography.

6 I forgive You
for the donations and tithes
that gild the Pope’s throne in gold;
it’s nothing personal, it’s just business.

7 I forgive You
for emphasising belief so much
that people don’t stop to think;
it’s nothing personal, it’s just psychology.

8 But most of all,
I forgive You
for taking her away from me.

9 Amen,


So I wrote a poem for class the other day. Always wanted to write something like this.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Bus

Today I got off the back of the bus, and you got on in the front.

It reminded me of the billions of other universes where I said, "I love you", and you said, "I love you, too."

Thursday, July 30, 2015

You Can Lead a Mob to Reason, But You Cannot Make it Think

I am slowly starting to hate the Internet.

Well, technically, it's not the Internet's fault. The Internet is just a bunch of computers linked together. It's the people using the Internet. That's right. Let me start over.

I am slowly starting to hate the people using the Internet.

The viral news story that sparked this angry, measured rant off is the discovery of the killer of Cecil the Lion, a famous lion living in a Zimbabwean nature reserve. The big game hunter in the Internet's collective cross-hairs is a dentist living in Minnesota, and his actions have riled up the well-meaning social justice public into action, posting the address of his business online, and slathering his Yelp page with hate "reviews", although I think the social justice public has already earned a special place in one of the circles of hell for making me link a BuzzFeed page as a legitimate source.

I want to articulate very clearly here that I do not condone big game hunting and hunting in general, and especially so for endangered species. I believe that hunting, if it's not for sustenance or protection, if it's for sport, is incredibly stupid and useless. If you want the thrill of stalking a creature through a hostile environment before sneaking up on it and killing it in the face, go play Assassin's Creed or Arkham City or something. Stop killing endangered animals because we're running out of endangered animals to kill. (Also you're disrupting ecosystems and hastening the process of environmental destruction and holy crap why are you so obsessed with killing things anyway.)

But what I am fed up with are the knee-jerk reactions of the Internet-empowered, Facebook-attention-spanned, road-to-hell-paved-with-good-intentioned public who don't stop to think before hitting that 'Share' button and rallying a huge mob of the pitchfork-and-torch variety. Because I think that's where most of today's so-called "social justice" is headed: pitchforks and torches. Angry mobs with ideological AK-47s for everyone. Witch-hunts. You know, like those things that happened in the 15th Century involving moral panic and mass hysteria and the literal burning of people at giant stakes. And I'm not exaggerating either, because that's what some people are actually calling for.

For God's sake, people. Stop to think for a minute. Just one minute. Stop to hammer the gunpowder in your moral musket before shooting it off indiscriminately at the world.

Here are three reasons why I don't agree with social mob justice:

Point #1: What are your Shares actually doing?

Quick poll: hands up, all of you who knows at least one Facebook friend who is actually into big game hunting. Sure, this is an impersonal digital medium and I can't actually see any hands, but I'm willing to bet good money that it is going to be a small handful of you. For all you people with your hypothetical hands up, thank you for cooperating, and at least you've got a reason, albeit it might not be a very good one (at least I don't think it is). You're not off the hook though, so sit tight for the rest of this section.

For the people who can't name a specific friend who you know engages in the killing of animals for sport, why are you sharing this article in the first place? It's not to educate anyone, surely, because nobody you know hunts lions and rhinos on their weekends off. At best, what you're doing is preaching to the choir, because all you friends are going to agree with you anyway; and at worst, you're playing the zither to the water buffalo, because you're not going to listen to the people who disagree with you anyway. So who are you sharing the article for?

Here's who you're sharing that article for: yourself. This is the reason for plastering the offending article all over your Wall and writing a paragraph or two of angry, riled up, righteous indignation for the world (at least the world circumscribed by the people most likely to agree with you already) to see. You get Likes, you get Comments, you essentially create a feedback loop to reinforce your own self-perception. I disagree with this on an emotional level, other people agree with my disagreement, so therefore my belief is justified and not wrong. That's what it's for, that's the reason you're posting all this righteous indignation stuff: to reassure yourself that the representation of yourself in your own mind and in the minds of the people around you isn't totally insane.

I will admit that I do this too. I share things on Facebook. I post things like Calvin and Hobbes comic strips, articles that agree with my worldview, and songs with emotionally-charged lyrics which cryptically hint to my own pathetic mental state. I, too, crave the attention and validation of my peers. It's a human thing. It's natural. I get it. That's not what I disagree with, though.

What I disagree with is the justification of doing these things for "social justice". What are you doing exactly? What are you achieving? What has this entire witch-hunt of Walter Palmer achieved except the shutting down of a dentist's office and the Facebook page and website attached to it? What is your purpose, what is your goal? Aside from sitting there with a smug look on your face saying, "I've done my part!"

At this point, angry people will start shouting things like "We are spreading the message to those who have might not heard it before!" and "There are other social justice issues that are a lot more relevant to the people I'm friends with, and that's why I'm sharing it!" To which I say, sure, that's all good and fine. If you're spreading a message and educating people about it, then that's great and fine and wonderful job, keep up the good work. That takes care of the social part.

Which brings me to my next point...

Point #2: Who are you to decide what is Justice?

Or, alternatively: Is this worth destroying a man's life over?

There are two things here. First is the question of Justice as a concept. Many philosophers over the ages have argued over this very thing, and the last I checked we're all so mixed up about it that we have specialized an entire legal industry for the sole purpose of finding out the answer.

What is the just remuneration for the murder of a proud, living creature? To what is the murderer owed in just punishment, which incidentally, is neither the same thing as karmic retribution nor bloody eye-for-an-eye revenge. What this Twitter mob is doing right now - public ridicule, disruption of his business, forcing him into hiding, calls for actual physical violence - is that just? The man has disconnected his office phone and directed all calls to a PR agency - is he cowering in his house right now, with the concentrated fury of hundreds of thousands of people distilling into him a fear that you wouldn't inflict on hundreds and thousands of people? Would the release of his address constitute a terrorist act? Should this man be executed? Jailed? Merely fined? Does his years of service to the community as a dental practitioner mitigate things somewhat? Should he be thrown to the lions, strung up by a lynch mob, taken to dance the hemp fandango? Is the murder of a lion a worse crime than the murder of another man?

It may look like I'm trying to make a rhetorical point with these questions, but I honestly do not have the answers myself. I don't feel like I have the responsibility to weigh a man's life in my hands and judge him by my own, personal, biased standards. But who actually thinks of these things when they hit a share button in the name of social "justice"? (This is the true rhetorical question, and the rhetorical answer is: very few.)

The way I see it, Yelp has been one of the only few sane persons in this entire firestorm, because they've been deleting the hate reviews of the man's business page for not "[describing] a firsthand consumer experience" as per their Terms of Service. I think (and you're welcome to disagree with me here) that the man's skill in repairing your teeth should have absolutely nothing to do with what he hunts and kills in his spare time. Disagree and rail against his poaching habits all you want, but if a man does a good polish and rinse then admit it.

If we had a universal set of rules and law and some kind of overarching decree which states clearly what is just and what isn't (and I think this would be impossible because humanity's concept of justice is different across contexts, cultures, religions, and it also evolves with time), we wouldn't need judges, we would just need to teach people how to read.

And that's the second thing: I am apprehensive of leaving the decision of justice to a mob of emotionally-charged, pitchfork-wielding general public. That's why we have a legal system, with a judge at the top of the table, who's very job it is to weigh both sides of the argument before passing a impartial, just judgement. Individuals need to think because there is no one else to do their thinking for them. But put that individual in a mob, and they stop thinking; he becomes a neuron in a network which wouldn't be considered fit to operate the motor controls of an earthworm.

You know how fish in a school are able to weave and dart around larger predators? You know how flocks of swallows are able to make intricate and mesmerizing patterns of shifting beauty? It's because each individual fish doesn't think about the whole picture, it's because each individual swallow doesn't stop to consider its place within the aerial formation. All they do is react to the movements of the fish around them, of the other swallows flying alongside. That's what a mob is, each individual member reacting to the outrage of the people next to them, creating a beautiful ripple of stupidity that travels around the world seven times a second.

Maybe the Internet can successfully argue that the man is getting all that he deserves for killing a defenceless animal, and that the focused laser of hatred and loathing is just as well as justified, and the man should burn in hell for an appreciable eternity. But I'd like to point out that the Internet's focused laser has all the precision and discretion of a dirty bomb, because:

Point #3: What are you going to do with the fallout of your nuclear hate bomb?

The cover photo from the dental clinic's defunct Facebook page showed twelve people, exactly one of which is Walter Palmer, the big game hunter in question. With social justice warriors firing bombshell after bombshell at the dentist and his business, who spared a thought for his eleven colleagues, employees, co-workers? Even if the people in the photo are, instead, family members, who the hell thought it would be a good idea to drag them into the firing range as well? (I had to add the mosaic to the faces of the others, because BuzzFeed apparently thinks it doesn't need to.) Who the hell considered the dental assistants and receptionists and other workers in the dental office, whose careers are now on shaky ground, when they started carpet bombing the man's business? Who's thinking about his wife and two kids, who are probably huddling in their house right now, afraid of the angry mob that's going to march up their doorstep because some idiot leaked the guy's home address to the world? If you are going to destroy a man, why are you destroying everyone around him in the process?

Stop sharing the man's address. Stop leading the pitchforks and torches to his doorstep, because I can't imagine people blasting the guy's coordinates to the world so that someone will track him down and angrily knock on his door, insisting that they sit down and have a short but delightful discussion about the negative effects of poaching. I'm very amused by the article by Vox, because after explaining that Palmer's address has been shared all over Twitter, they put in neat little parentheses: "(This is a practice that is often used online to facilitate real-world harassment of targets.)"

Has anyone imagined what effects the death threats are having on his family?

Okay, I admit, this last point is quite masturbatory, because as far as I know, nobody I know is spreading addresses. But here's the message I'm trying to convey here: stop to think. Stop to think of what your actions are doing, of the ramifications a simple click of a mouse can have on people on the other side of the world. , real, living people with families and friends and hobbies and interests and jobs and loves and hates and so many other various things in this kaleidoscope of life.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

On Writing

It's 5 a.m. and I've just finished reading Terry Pratchett's Nation for the third time.

There is something to be said about a book that lights a fire behind your eyes, that wrests you from the sweet caresses of sleep and hauls you in front of your computer screen and forces - no, inspires - you to write. Sometimes I sit here four hours and barely scrape together a couple of mediocre paragraphs, and I often get distracted by my research and Facebook and other things that abound on the Internet. But now I sit down and write, because the fire that has been lit burns hot and bright and fast, like a firework.

I wonder if other people feel this too, at the ends of books they love and enjoy and that lights a fire in their soul. I wonder if it is the same for people reading the Bible, the Quran. I have often lamented the fact that even though I may pass this book around to friends and people I know and love, even though they will hold the same book and flip the same pages and read the same words, it will not light the fire in their soul as it has in mine. I reach the end of a Pratchett book with my soul ablaze and I wonder, no I marvel, at the circumstances of my life, all the little coincidences and choices and quantum collapsing that has evolved this mental shape which is so inflammable to the word of satire but curiously fireproof to the word of God. And I wonder, as I pass the books around and lend them out to friends and people I love in order to spread the good word and bring the good word of Pratchett to these people, beseeching them to read it because it will Change Their Lives; I wonder if all the little circumstances and coincidences and quantum collapses in their lives have evolved a mind which is insulated against my fires, just as mine is insulated against theirs.

I've been writing a story and so I've been reading a lot of Pratchett for inspiration. I've read the stories before, and every time, by the end of the last page and the last word, the smoke is streaming out of my ears. But now that I have started writing myself, I am able to see the intricate and masterful craftsmanship that goes into each and every single word, line, sentence, paragraph. You read about foreshadowing and imagery and back references and when you write it comes out as though you've read the manual and followed the instructions to the letter; but there is a kind of magic in writer's craft, in the work of a wordsmith, weaving plot and character setting and action into one Big Idea...

I hope there's still people reading my blog, because if not then these are just my own thoughts bouncing back to me in the steel ball of a mind.

Poets. Poets are, well... they're like impressionist painters. They have a blank canvas, and they want to communicate a feeling. So they paint, in their clear strokes and gaudy contrasting colours, and when you look at the painting, you see a mess of lines and shades; but there is what looks like an eye here, and here, and this one looks like a mouth, and a nose, and so on; and once you connect the shapes you get the general feeling, the impression, of a man, a face. And the lines and shades and vaguely recognizable shapes will leave you with an impression of a man, but it cannot tell you his height or weight, where he was born or how many siblings or children he had, what he did or what he was going to do. A poem offers an impression, and for some people this is very important, because feelings are experiences too, and so people write poems and poets have their place.

But writers... writers are more like Renaissance sculptors. They have a blank block or marble, and they want to communicate an idea. So they carve it out of the marble, with their chisel of letters and their hammer of narrative; they carve out of the millions and billions of words, the infinite arrangement of letters and spaces and punctuation; out of this infinite space they carve out a story. And with their chisel of letters and their hammer of narrative, they carve out the curve of the eye and the curve of the eyelid, the indentations of wrinkles and the pattern of eyelashes; they carve and they chisel the detail, so fine and so intricate. But when the work is done and the dust is blown away, what is left is a masterpiece of craftsmanship. And unlike the impressionist's painting, the sculpture has form, the sculpture has a shape. And the shape of the sculpture is like the plot of a novel, while the idea the sculpture represents is like the theme, the Big Idea, the fire-starter. And the plus side is that, even if you don't get the Big Idea, even if you can't see the embodiment of Perfection in the form of David, then at least you can say it's a damn fine sculpture.

The fires are burning out now, flames are sputtering, the steam is being run out of. It takes so long to write a book, but so much shorter time in comparison to consume it. And the flame, the flame that it ignites burns out faster still. But perhaps there is a different heat, a kind of glowing ember buried deep in the soul, which ignites the passion and inflames the brain, and launches the firework high into the night sky where it will explode with the brilliance of a sun, for an instant.

The young man smiled, and believed.

Saturday, June 06, 2015

On Conservative Singapore and Homosexuality

So this article has been going round on my Facebook news feed lately, and though I am usually loathe to sound my voice about a social justice issue, I have been constantly frustrated by every well-meaning yet narrow-minded burst of outrage that this article has induced.

The article covers an interview our PM Lee had with journalists from around the region, but whose reporter specifically chose to spin with the "righteous indignation" angle and "clickbait" headline of "Conservative S’pore 'not ready for same-sex marriage'". Other aspects of the press conference, such as PM Lee's views on ASEAN, are conveniently compartmentalized into separate articles. But I digress - journalistic integrity is not what I am frustrated with this article about (although I am frustrated with it in general). And besides, there are many possible reasons for the narrow scope of the articles: journalist specialisation, brevity and conciseness, the amount of material for a substantial article...

What frustrates me, as I mentioned earlier, is the lack of thought that has gone into the emotional lambasting of our governing body and constitutional laws; scores of self-righteous citizens eagerly pointing the condemning finger at our Prime Minister without stopping to consider the sheer complexity, the multidimensional nature of something like the "homosexual agenda" has in Singapore.

People like to see social issues, especially those social issues which are governed by policy and laws, as a self-contained, inert, closed system. The answer is (of course!) to abolish Section 377a! And then legalize marriage for same-sex couples! Then homosexuals in Singapore will finally get the human rights they so-rightfully deserve! Yes, I believe these are all desirable outcomes for our society. But make no mistake, these are merely outcomes. The misunderstanding occurs when people conflate them with solutions. Legalizing same-sex marriage is not going to make homosexuals accepted overnight. Repealing Section 377a is not going to prevent a gay or lesbian from being reviled by conservative-minded people, or protect them from small social acts of personal prejudice.

A proper solution would be education, of having people from both camps sit down over a kopi or teh and just talking and realizing that both malicious oppressors and self-righteous victims, both righteous defenders of heteronormality and the craven perverts of natural order, they're both just people, trying to live their lives. That's the idealistic solution, the tough solution, the hard-work-and-spending-time solution, which would then evolve such natural outcomes as the repealing of outdated laws and legalization of homosexual marriages. But these people are clamouring for the quick-and-easy, hammer-on-the-gavel solution, as if - rather ironically, I might add - a top-down, nigh-draconian ruling is going to sway the hearts and minds of the nonbelievers.

I might like to speculate here on the complex nature of this issue. It is not hard to infer that decisions made by the government on the homosexuality issue can impact many other areas of the political sphere. For example, motioning policy which seems to favour the homosexual agenda might cause the government to fall out of favour with the conservative majority, which might result in the other guy being elected into power; the other guy, whose stance on same-sex marriages curries favour with the people, but whose rise to power would play Russian roulette with the economy. Perhaps the move towards liberal policies might antagonize our conservative neighbours. Maybe the sudden lax laws, coupled with a lack of proper sex education, might result in an outbreak of sexually transmitted diseases. Who knows? These might not be the actual reasons, but the fact that they are not only possible but plausible explanations for our government's behaviour reveals the fundamental attribution error in our thinking.

It is sad that people like fighting. It is disheartening to realize that the vast majority are people who have a predilection to polarization, who immediately create camps and reinforce tribes, who quickly define who are my "allies" and who are my "enemies", because the world is just so much simpler that way. We have all the knowledge of the how to fight and the why to fight and the who to fight, with none of the wisdom to know when. Social justice warriors, the lot of them.

I believe in same-sex marriage. I believe in the decriminalization of homosexual acts. I believe that a person should be able to love whomever they choose to love, regardless of whatever someone else's family, book, superstition, tradition, or prejudice has to say. But I also believe in properly thinking about an issue, in looking at multiple angles, in knowing when your emotion is clouding your reason, in controlling a knee-jerk reaction.

I would like to point out that at no point in the article is PM Lee quoted as saying homosexuality is "wrong" or "unnatural". (I don't know if he never says this during the entire interview; I couldn't manage to find a transcript of the full reply online.) Not once does he say anything about the preservation of the institution of marriage; not once does he decry homosexuality as an abomination; not once does he mention any of the misguided and extremist views you can read in the article's comments section. All he says is that Singaporeans are not ready.

And you know what? He's right. We're not ready.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Alternate Realities

I had a vividly lucid dream this morning, that there was a portal to an alternate reality in my army administration office. It wasn't a glowing orange portal or a ring of electrically-charged nanobots; it was just a side corridor which looked extremely normal - it even had a photocopier in the middle of it - that if you went all the way to the end it opened up into this deserted house in an alternate reality. The first few times I crossed over were spent exploring the house. It was a fairly normal house, with large double doors and long hallways, but it was deserted. It was situated not precisely in the middle of nowhere, but out of the way of a small city or large town, which was on the horizon. I also discovered that time there moved differently from time in our reality, so that making a visit there and back cost you years when you think you had only gone for hours. One on of the last trips to the abandoned house I left the building to see a wave of people making their way towards the building, all dressed in different outfits and uniforms and generally looking like a bunch of people commuting to work. I didn't want to be caught there but I was pretty much ignored; I asked a lady walking her dog and she told me that there was a whole network of portals that people used to get around and do jobs in the multiverse.

This happened over the course of an hour, as I was repeatedly awoken by my snooze alarm and went back to sleep, which I think just goes to show that I really don't want to live in this reality.

Monday, April 06, 2015

Poetry Month: If I Had One More Day to Live

If I Had One More Day to Live

If I had one more day to live...
Oh, what a futile narrative!

One more day of pain and strife,
One more day of fear and hate.
Suffer not the stupid blighters,
Nor the idiotic fools.
Just shuffle off this mortal coil,
No more time to make amends;
I cannot take it anymore,
Time to shove off and leave this place.
Sick and tired of religion,
Fed up with the loneliness;
Cannot stand the two-faced traitors,
Up to here with social justice.
Nothing meets your expectations,
People tell you what to dream;
I'd do naught else and only this,

If I'd but one more day to live!

I can't forget the things I'd miss:
Licking chocolate chip ice cream,
Comic book film adaptations;
Disc-shaped worlds atop a tortoise,
And being civil to your waiters;
Reveling in new-found freeness,
Running through a flock of pigeons;
There's marvelling at outer space,
And mixing up your metaphors;
Playing board games with your friends,
Or pasta cooked in olive oil.
Floating deep in swimming pools;
When you hug her and she hugs tighter;
A simple smile on your first date -
I'd lose it all if I lose life.

I guess I have to take and give,
If I had one more day to live.

Poetry Month: On Evolution

On Evolution

I'm quite glad that evolution 
Made it through its revolution, 
And survived the persecution, 
To make it to this day. 

Though what leaves me quite affected: 
Not the fact it's still rejected, 
But that that's to be expected 
Is what fills me with dismay.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Poetry Month: The Dragonfly

The Dragonfly

Tonight, a maddening creature
Flew into my room on the sly.
It wasn't a bird -
Though that would be preferred
To this gigantic dragonfly.

This insect is truly enormous,
See how it doth nature defy.
You don't understand,
It's the size of my hand,
Or maybe a large-ish bonsai.

It's buzzing around my furniture,
And fighting my fan up on high.
I'm frightfully scared
It will leave me impaired
If it swerves right into my eye.

Excuse me, you cannot remain here,
So I really don't understand why
You won't go away;
Please leave me, I pray,
Or I think I might curl up and die.

Hello there neighbour, how are you?
I thought I'd just saunter by.
Oh, nothing's the matter,
I just had to scatter
From the terror that is dragonfly.

Come see for yourself - it's enormous!
And since you're here, be my ally.
I don't dare get closer,
So be my disposer,
And on you I'll fully rely.

What do you mean, you can't do it?!
I thought you were such a tough guy!
I'm surprised to find
You're so disinclined;
Never knew you were just a small fry.

Man, I still have to sleep at some point;
So I can't just stand idly by.
I reckon my broom
Gives me just enough room
To knock it right out of the sky.

It's clinging onto my curtains,
But I have a plan now, whereby
I'll carefully nudge it,
And hopefully budge it
Away - hey, it's worth a try.

It flew out into the corridors,
And sadly, I can't tell a lie;
But I'm filled with elation
That this tribulation
Is now somebody else's. Goodbye!


Loosely inspired by real events that happened tonight with my friend and neighbour Dylan. The part where he abandons me such that I have to fight the fire-breathing dragonfly alone is sadly, true.

Friday, April 03, 2015

Poetry Month: Genesis

I obviously don't know what mind maps are.
(Click image to view at full resolution.)


Chapter One
1 In the beginning, there was nothing,
Nothing but the void and dark;
which suddenly exploded
from the singularity’s spark.

2 Power poured into existence.
And with it, birthed a goddess;
Wild and unpredictable,
Yet behind-the-scenes and modest.

3 She condensed the lightest atoms,
And sent them t’wards the growing border.
she wore a mask of quantum;
Thus hid chaos in this order.

4 Guided by her unseen hand,
The hydrogen crashed and collided;
If they were fast, they fused in two:
Helium, nuclei undivided.

5 The atoms danced a billion years –
And with gravity’s permission –
Collapsed into a stellar cloud,
And twisted the ignition.

6 The first star was a beacon:
“and”, t’was said, “There was light”.
But the prime star soon went nova,
Flinging metals ‘cross the night.

7 Thus the elements danced with chaos –
A fierce foxtrot, death and birth;
Then the star sol scorched the heavens,
And gave rise to the Earth.

8 That small and rocky planetoid,
The third child from its parent sun,
Was rained upon with water, wet,
From which the threads of life were spun.

Chapter Two
9 Now Chaos had her eye on earth.
she quelled its crust volcanic,
and brought down with her unseen hand
The molecules organic.

10 And with a careful nudge from Chaos,
They combined into amino acids,
And thus the building blocks of life were made,
Underneath an ocean surface, placid.

11 The Goddess, ever curious,
Tinkered on the continental shelf,
Until her experiments devised
A molecule that could replicate itself.

12 This proto-strand of DNA
Became the first single-celled creature;
The first of many wondrous things
That this small rock would feature.

13 As they went forth and multiplied,
Some forms ate sunlight while some just ate,
And they specialised and diversified
Into cells which learned to conjugate.

14 For solitary cells are weak,
But together make a mighty prison.
Behold, great monsters of the sea
Which from the depths have risen.

15 Chaos, with mysterious grin,
Played god of evolution;
And with the waters getting full,
Divined a sound solution:

16 “I’ll give them arms; I’ll give them legs,
They’ll crawl on land and breathe the air!
I’ll graft on some the gift of flight,
And soon they will be everywhere!”

Chapter Three
17 Thus began an age of cold-blooded kings,
Of gargantuan insects and terrible lizards;
Some lived on plants but most ate other things,
Ripping out flesh from the guts and the gizzards.

18 The periods flew by – chalk it up to cretaceous –
And played out for millions of years prehistoric;
Then Chaos, in ways both playful and audacious,
Jostled a comet, which went meteoric.

19 The end of the world came sooner than thought,
But lo, not every creature was extinct:
The dinosaurs’ reign had all come to naught,
But in the aftermath, a furry small blink.

20 For milk-making monsters who mulled the mid-night,
They revelled in wake of the loss of the lizards,
And grew and evolved to a decent new height,
And survived the ice ages and snowfalls and blizzards.

21 Then one fateful day, on an open savannah,
A dominant life form began to take shape:
The story oft told is it slipped on a banana;
It’s hard to walk on two legs, for an ape.

22 The millennia ticked by; and brains were selected
By other lone monkeys looking for prime mates,
And over the years, this process affected
The development of some evolutionary traits.

23 As their minds expanded, the monkeys grew smart:
Developing math, religion, and more:
Philosophy, music, politics, and art;
But also murder, pollution, Suffering, and war.

24 Now Chaos, who was never far away,
Looked down upon the human scrimmage;
And she laughed upon their work and play,
For they were truly made of her image.

25 It’s been billions of years since Chaos, undecided,
Threw dust together and sired the Earth.
Now that the whole back-story has been provided,
It’s time to go out there and prove what it’s worth.

I had an assignment to submit a mind map summarizing the origins of the cosmos for my science class. Obviously I don't know what a mind map is, but I really enjoyed writing this poem, and creating the image that I had to submit. Yay for learning new things in Photoshop!

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Poetry Month: Just Outside Eden

Just Outside Eden

"Dammit!" cried Adam. "We cannot undo!"
Eve whispered, "Why'd you lose the return key?"
The crosses were naught but a future view,
Now that they'd partook of the logic tree.
"Help us!" Eve called to the serpent ignoble,
But it just said: "Error: 'helpus' not defined."
"I don't understand; that variable's global!
Whoever made turtles was out of their mind."
Under the canopy they labelled their list,
'Till finally Adam shouted, "Oh, what the hell.
Let's run it, and if the problems still persist,
We'll debug the buggers right out of their shell."
So ignoring the taunts from the demon infernal,
They recompiled code and restarted the kernel.

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Poetry Month: It's That Time of the Month

It's That Time of the Month

Gather round and hear the tale of the Monthly Match-make Man;
"A new girl every thirty days!" - that was his playboy plan.
"When you find out that she's not right and not quite what you wish you
Can put her into storage, and just wait for next month's issue!"
(It's clear you shouldn't emulate just 'cause you are in Rome;
This "just in case" is to cover all bases: kids, don't try this at home.)

He met the first young lady on a summer afternoon,
And when he did, his stomach slid, and made his insides swoon.
She loved to spoon, and played bassoon, which sent him over the moon;
Like him, she hated red (maroon), and liked his favourite tunes.
But her request to be a bride was, frankly, much too soon,
So with a hug, he gave her a bug to which she was not immune.

The second girl, he found her quick; 'twas but a short delay;
She worked down at the cabaret, and took his breath away.
She baked soufflé, made cream parfait, and tea from small sachets;
I'd say their play was more risqué than Fifty Shades of Grey.
But to his dismay, she'd never obey a thing he'd try to convey,
So at the last hour, he gave her a flower, and shipped her on her way.

The last and final one he met, she gave him such a great thrill,
When he tells the story, he'd say his jaw was agape, still.
Her tights are worn see-through and lace, and always with those shaped-frills;
She joins him in the shower, and shares his love for escape drills.
The Monthly Man is now in love, and vows steadfast that he'll
Always and forevermore be the fool of April.

Monday, March 23, 2015

You Were A Wizard, Harry

"Vimes had found old Stoneface's journal in the Unseen University library.

The man had been hard, no doubt about that. But they were hard times.

He'd written: 'In the Fyres of Struggle let us bake New Men, who Will Notte heed the old Lies.' But the old lies had won in the end.

He said to people: you're free. And they said hooray, and then he showed them what freedom costs and they called him a tyrant and, as soon as he'd been betrayed, they milled around a bit like barn-bred chickens who've seen the big world outside for the first time, and then they went back into the warm and shut the door-"

--Terry Pratchett, Feet of Clay

Monday, March 09, 2015

Poems That Don’t Rhyme

Poems That Don’t Rhyme

There are things that annoy me; they render me unhinged:
Like bells that were off-colour, they incorrectly tinged.
They’re written by lovers and those who are spurned;
And also by scholars, those men who are learned;
They’re penned down by artists who make such a fuss;
And those nature-lovers who fawn over does.
I know those that say it’s not much of a crime,
But I really can’t stand poems that don’t echo.

There are those who can pun on a run-on sentence,
Weaving witty words that enchant and entrance;
Spoken word’s tolerable if it’s give and take,
And haikus are swell when you’ve swallowed some sake –
But a printed down piece, I have to concede
I’ve a terrible need voicing what I just read.
It’s jarring when those sounds don’t match up on time,
And that’s why I don’t like poems that don’t sound right.

If there were a contest, Dr Seuss would win it!
Every clause has a pause, and his flaws are minute.
Ogden Nash too, is on solid rhyme ground:
His stanzas are sharp, but sometimes they wound.
As are the lyrics that at concerts they blare;
Their rhythmic pattern makes me shed a tear.
These are the verses that are in their prime!
Not like those hateful poems that don’t end in homonyms.

Let’s veto all free verse, this era’s cliché,
And let all our diphthongs jostle and buffet;
It’d be so much better! Much better instead,
If we all raise our pencils and follow my lead.
It might not be brilliant as I may have hoped,
But you won’t get run over by a bike or a moped.
It will be outstanding and simply sublime,
If we all could stop writing poems that don’t use similar-sounding syllables.