Love is not enough

29 01 2015

in thanks to my cousin, Carmel Phillips

What does it mean when he says he loves you
but does not trust himself not to hurt you?

I never thought I could go to her with this question
but she gave me the best answer anyone could.

Last night, in your drunken state of mind
you held me tightly, barely awake

Answering questions I don’t remember asking.
The next morning you told me that I can’t hold

A drunk to his words. Her answer was simple.
Her answer was ‘Love is not enough’

It is not an isolated entity. It is a lame word
the false pillar for lazy people to

Lean against in the bad times because
they do not want to be alone at night.

He called it love, but it is not a magic word
and with the wave of a wand will everything

Be perfect and magical and wonderful.
There is no abracadabra

It is four letters. It is the most overused word
in the world, regardless of language; love

Ti amo, cinta, laska, te ahora, pag-ibig
we’ve heard it all before.

Hey sooner we realise, we cover ourselves with lies
well underneath we’re not so tough, oh love it’s not enough

Love comes with values you share, with
goals you should work towards, with

Beliefs you are in agreement with,
His actions have to match the content

Of his speech.  So when he said that
I couldn’t hold a drunk to his words

What he really meant was that
I shouldn’t hold him accountable

for what he had said to me
the night before.

That he loved me, but did not trust himself
not to hurt me. It was his escape route.

So she is right.
Any old fool could fall in love.

But a wise man knows that
respect, commitment, faith and dignity

Are the real supporting pillars to the
heart-shaped coliseum we build for ourselves.


Adult Poems

2 10 2014

Written for the very first Under 21 Slam in Singapore,Dec 2013, organised by Word Forward.
Finally! And Under 21 poetry slam, I was waiting for this
Kinda sucks that the year I turned 20 was the year this

U21 poetry slam started. Thank you Word Forward. This poem
is dedicated to the youth in this room, to the young poets

to hide behind bedroom doors and practice reciting in front of mirrors
who come to blu jaz on the last thursday of every month just to hear

the poems of the slammers that attend, they’re usually regulars
for those who go to open mics only to listen to badly written songs, who fear

their language would not reach out to those whose minds are numb
and dulled with the melodies of this century. this is for the some

that turn online to hear poets speak in New York, in London
to those who watch so many men and women

read poetry about their lives. Their adult lives. I’ve listened and read
too many adult poems about heartbreak and saddness and regret, read

too many poems about wishing to be young, to restart and try again,
I’ve read too many poems about the lessons life will teach you, sometimes again and again

I’ve read too many poems about the possible future. I don’t know
any poems written about the now. Adult poems are all I know.

I read them and sometimes I try and write them, trying to capture
my own heartache, my own lessons, my own regrets. But im only 20, rather

than dwelling on what has yet to happen, you and I should dwell on
what is now. Adult poems always show how adults draw

permanently in their memories, their childhood dreams.they always seem
to go back to that. Last month, I hear this poem by a girl who I think was 16

She spoke of a tree house where her greatest memories were kept and formed
her words made my ears beg for more and my heart swelled up, warmed

by their comfort. You could see everyone around her soften their gaze.
The adults looked at her, they forget that the simplest and youthful of stories always amaze.

Adult poems are not written for us, but our poems are written for everyone
everyone will and can relate to youth because they used to be us, everyone

will want the words only we seem to be able to produce.
Finally there is a platform for us to use

even in my time left I will use it as much as I can
It’s about time we raise a soda cans and took a stand

for our age and for our art.