Friday, August 15, 2008

2 poems by Liyana Y

© 2008 Liyana Y

Creative Process: I was urged by Jacob Sam-la Rose to write a poem on the theme of How To Be ___, which was any inanimate object, and to see it in a different light. I chose the bed, because I miss my bed, and at the time I wrote this I barely got to spend enough time with it, so the distant romanticism was there. It's always a challenge to humanize something inanimate you take for granted, and see how it applies not only to you but to everyone who sees their own version of those objects every day. I wrote this on the fly over a chat with a friend, and in response to the theme proposed by Jacob. It's one of the few poems that I didn't feel like editing and redrafting to death afterwards.


you are on the edge at last

by Liyana Y

Never again.

For years you launched your imperfections.
Your rage battered me, a bloody mess of
beauty broken.

I looked up marriage in the dictionary,
fuelled by what I recall of childhood,
where I played future
with friends now possibly dead,
or both.

There are no synonyms here.
There are dogs with better lives.

Bitches like fruit trees;
bearing kids who ripen to perfection,
wrapped in birth.

Do you know what happened when you left me on the floor?
I was wrapped in birth. My baby left me
the gift of heat,
and hope.
Never again.

How infuriated you are now, flaring
at your failure to erase my calm with
clumsy flesh.
When you turn away I turn a blazing white.
Your rage may have reduced me to pulp, but combined with mine?
It is almost holy.

I have healed, lover,
my wings have grown,
now all that is left

is for me to fly.

© 2008 Liyana Y

Creative Process: Liyana Y: Sometime ago, my friend painted this, and asked his readers for their impressions. I felt compelled to write a poem about it, after staring at the image for awhile. My first questions were: Why is the man darkly shaded? why is he standing in a sea of red? Is that woman/angel hiding from him? Is he looking for her? I imagined then that the man was some sort of monster, a brutal man, in a sea of blood, and the woman/angel probably had no intention of revealing herself to him, even though he looked like he was searching for her. Several drafts later I shaped a story of a woman who had survived a miscarriage at the hands of her abusive husband, and how she emerged stronger, almost holier after it. When I showed the poem to my friend (a prose poem first draft at the time) I think he was rather taken aback by my interpretation, which I felt sorry about. And so, I will (probably) never write poems about his paintings again. (Can't promise anything, Reza, sorry). 

Liyana Y is a poet, scientist, student, part time private English tutor, and eats up any freelance jobs she can to get by every month in the city. She's been writing publicly since 2003, has been published in an anthology by MPH, and a collection of poetry by British Council. She's had the privilege of sharing the stage with brilliant poets from here and overseas, as well as performing at the Singapore Writers Festival. She loves taking photos and blowing in the faces of her cats. Above all, she loves to read and write. She loves loves loves to write.


  1. When I started with the drawing, I had in mind of a dark event, and when I had finished with the 'angel' (with wings of bone) I felt... settled. So I was startled to read your reaction which brought back to surface all the thoughts of loss, humiliation, and anger that I started out with.

    More jarring is the connection you found with the story behind it.

    I'm glad you got such a strong impression from it -- the picture's done its work. Don't be sorry!

  2. Hi there, it's my first time on this page. Really liked both poems, especially the one about the bed. Very, very creative. I shall never look at my bed the same way again.. :)

    -just another drop in an ocean of cyber-poets (ironic, isn't it)..


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