Old Chum

can we rewind back

our episode

of nondescript felon

can we picture

and tone it

in your colors then

of insipid black

then white


can we freeze frame

that televised bomb

being hoisted off the sea

then educate your mama

and your hobby cat

how dangerous

deep slumber with

mosquito coils can be


green fields all day

fanfare at night

through hazy clouds you lay bare

all the litters of fright

can you dust the soot off

those charming old lamps

so flags, frangipani and bananas

could jolly well band


one day like chemist

we both shall blend

the odd bathroom formulas

with that of your kitchen ends

then try to decipher

while the barber chair swivels

why the view outside the openings

is always as green as ever


but the cock crows too soon

to doctor jam’s tune

the kites, the bird cages, the ducks

they all revere to you

when thunder brings rain

with it sprigs of  mangroves grow

it clogs and floods the drain

it is you who follow those tows


I’d remember you by

an old chum who comics

but deep down camera-shy

with cheroot-like status

you humbled, you beatify

the putrid, the puny

the mundane

why oh why?


can we snip off those stills

of acrid smog

with balaclava, bicycles

no automated post box

you dance with your hand

with patience and good sense

you caption, then motion

our bridge now has no end


I’d remember you by

when I see lembus steering

and swerving on the road

so little to pacify

when I relish the nasi kandar

I will encircle and ponder

what life is like with Rose Chan

beyond that yonder


am digesting it all in

with a glass full of water


raised in USA?







(This poem is dedicated to Ismail Hashim 1940-2013, finest art photographer and friend).