Late Night ATM

3.00am.
I can’t sleep on debt
Or an upset stomach.

So I set off
Towards the nearest ATM
Under an imperfect slice
Of a brilliant moon.
No more buses or trains.
The traffic flows smoothly now
Like thinned blood
On a weak pulse
And a weaker assumption
That no one would cross
At this witching hour.

I reach the bus interchange.
Fully lit and guarded
By two elderly men,
One sleeping,
The other flipping through
Yesterday’s news
Waiting for his turn on the bench.
I make my withdrawal.
I’m not alone.
The beeps from the machine
Then from another machine
Are shrill cries
In the dead of the night
Like calls to predators
Hungry for easy cash.

I shuffle along
Towards the safety of home.
And I’m still not alone
At this unfamiliar hour.
As strangers cross my path
I wonder
If they’re friend or foe.
If they are returning late
Or leaving early.


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Why I Like Conan Doyle

Some advice from the creator of Sherlock Holmes

“Read solid books, history, biography and travel and above all, take notes on what you read. Reading without note-taking is as senseless as eating without digesting. It is easy to condense into a single page, all that you really want to remember out of a big book and there, you have your reference forever.”

At the time of his death, Doyle was found to have kept over 60 scrapbooks. With the internet, scrapbooks remain relevant. The whole process of taking notes constitutes a form of digestion – which is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s fast-paced living. The collection of notes (accumulatd over a lifetime) is a personalised search engine with far more relevance than what is readily available online. Being a big fan of Conan Doyle, I will always make it a point to take notes.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1932)


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Why I Like Updike

“The list of our deceased classmates on the back of the program grows longer; the class beauties have gone to fat or bony crone-hood; the sports stars and non-athletes alike move about with the aid of pacemakers and plastic knees, retired and taking up space at an age when most of our fathers were considerately dead.”

John Updike (1932-2009) in My Father’s Tears


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MacRitchie Trail

butterfly

Shriveled leaves sail down from the canopy
On a busy jogger’s highway,
With shuffling feet and crunching gravel
Strewn to tame the sucking mud.
Unnoticed in the undergrowth
Is a careless butterfly
Trapped in a web
Meant for a less glamorous meal.
Wings flap desperately
Between freedom and death
Till the silky chains give way
As if saying
Not today.

© Chan Joon Yee (1964 -?)


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