Sunday, October 22, 2006

Three Women

If ever her sky was a different blue, she didn’t let it show
If ever she had died inside, I was the last to know.

If I tilt my head a little to the left, I can see where muscle and fat bulge and dapple into one human being. If I tilt my head a little to the right, she looks a lot like me. We have the same smile, the same toughness and we both can’t keep our eyes open against the sun. We’re both the same girl but for the fact that we played a twisted game and she won.

In some ways, I can read her thoughts as clearly as water distilled from a pumice stone. I wear her heart on her sleeve for her and she wears my body for me.

We both have the same body but for the fact that mine is scarred both inside and out more than anyone will ever know. I run my hands down my skin. I don’t recognise this plain of notches and angry red welts where a needle has dragged itself in and out. It is like leather, raw and tanned, dry salt lakes in arid grassland.

She touches my hand and our eyes meet, it is like looking into a mirror. But I am her daguerrotype. Even she cannot recognise me now. Staring at each other through the plump red heads of the velvet roses, separated by a berth of pain. We were two halves of a cast and now I am the negative.

We are the same but for the fact that I am now just a shadow of a woman, and she is the puppeteer, casting the garish dance on the wall.

She could be me. For all her airs and gossip. The fat chickens at the market filling the air with a bile-inducing smell of raw poultry, the scratched aubergines in broken rattan baskets. She stands in the cracked road and haggles for chinese parsley, white musk curling up around her. If I do not move, she will look right at me.
And then right through me.
I move in harmony with her, but we stand at odds and in her world it is day and in mine, endless night. I wait for the millstone to wring itself from my neck and plummet into the sea. The hemp rope cuts and chafes till I cannot breathe the pungent scent of onions mixing with the orchids.
The sky is the watery grey of a broken dam. I want her to see me, to recognise that this is just her doppelganger, the yang to her yin. She looks up amid the search for the perfect radish and her gaze claws past me into the tumult of morning tea-making. It is not that she cannot see me, she will not.

She will not see me in her. Refuses to acknowledge that the pitch of this landscape is a swathe of her body. I am the ghost of her smile, her memory, her anvil. She is the warmth and press of live flesh and laughter. She needs me to survive.

But she has killed me.

I am the other woman.

I wear her heart on her sleeve for her, but she will never see me past her own silvery reflection in the mirror.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

She speaks without

is her
greatest fault.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Verbal Diarrhoea

"... I haven’t written music for a long time now, since a while before I left for the States. I don’t know why. Is it because I’ve lost all inspiration or because I just stopped practising? I've lost my voice completely and I don't even remember if I was ever any good in the first place.

It’s hard to play in my house. People appreciate only certain genres of music and there is certainly no room for error or experimental practise. I can’t sing off-key or attempt to hit strange notes when others are around because it irritates them and makes me so self-conscious. I used to envy the way my musically-inclined friends would belt their lungs out and bang on their pianos at home and the first words out of my mouth would be, “What about your parents and the neighbours? Don’t they complain?”

And of course, no piano when the TV or the news is on which is almost all the time. By the time everyone has gone to bed, silent hours have to be observed too. I used to fight for my right to practise against the TV, against the guitar, against the music blaring from the PC just beside me. After awhile, when I still couldn't hear myself, I just kind of stopped trying.

I haven't touched my piano in months, and it kills me.

But I see her sing. And now I want my music back. I want to be able to make silly mistakes and strange noises without people staring over my shoulder..."

Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Shadow of the Valley

This is not really happening. This cannot really be happening. It’s the kind of thing you hear about but that never really crosses the boundary from being gossip into being reality.

I should do something.
I should shout or scream or cry or shake someone into action.

I should hold my mother’s hand or tell her it’s okay.

But it is so far suspended from my awareness of today that all I can think of is the little blue bowl of soft plums on the table and wonder where Jesper Hoffmeyer used the term “index”.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The Next Big Thing


I have been silent for nearly a week, a move that is rather uncharacteristic of me even if I may say so myself. The reason for the prolonged absence is this: I have been plotting.

Yes, my friends.

I am about to unleash the greatest new money-making idea of the era, greater than a lemming-powered generator, greater than a fish-tank-cum-centipede-trap and I am asking all of you, yes you, to partake in it with me. If you will just do me the favour of hearing me out, I assure you that together, we will be the Warren Buffets of the – uh- of whatever the hell century this is. (I realise of course that Warren Buffet is the Warren Buffet of this century already, but I am allowed to say whatever I want. SEE Artistic License.)

My idea is this. Ahem.

I am going to form a band.

Now before you write this off as another hare-brained scheme that involves breeding genetically-modified lemmings and the like, I ask you to dream with me for a second here.

My market research has led me to weed out a singularly interesting money-making specimen that appears to have no ostensible function and yet, manages to sell an unprecedented number of records, music videos and of course, sex.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you, the Pussycat Dolls.

I’ve been watching this group for a few months now, and I’ve realised something that never occurred to me before – you don’t need to do very much to be famous! Now, I’m not hating on the PCD (as they are known in tha ‘hood). I think they happen to be incredibly hot, talented in their own way, sing very very catchy songs and know exactly what they are doing when they get up on stage.

I’ve also noticed that only one of them seems to be doing any work at all.

It appears that in this band, only one girl actually sings and acts as the spokesperson while simultaneously making the whole group world-famous in a matter of half a year. Lead Cat, as I’ll refer to her for now, is tall, very toned, has enough long black hair to make carpets for an entire Arab family and can sing and dance well enough to capture an audience’s undivided attention.

All the other five girls have to do is prance and shake vigorously in the background, flip their hair over their shoulders and sometimes contribute to the music by breathily singing “Uh-huh”. Now and then one of them will hit a high note at the climax of the song and the three flexible ones of the lot will do matching high kicks, just cos it gives them more street cred, ya know.

In one “acapella” video I watched of the girls singing without music, there was even one Doll who didn’t sing AT ALL but merely got by by snapping her fingers in time to the music. They don’t even need to be particularly pretty as the camera is focused on Lead Cat most of the time and reduces the other five to gyrating blurs in the background.

And award shows? No problem. Lead Cat simply hogs the mic and shouts out golden words of wisdom such as, “I thank God for giving us all this talent!” and “We love the fans! They make us who we are today!”.

Ya don’t say.

So, I propose that I start a similar band with six girls who must fulfill a few simple pre-requisites. To join my band:

1) You must have long hair.
2) If you don’t have long hair, you must be willing to get extensions
3) Uh… that’s it.

As for the rest of the planning and management, leave it to me.

I’ve already thought of a catchy name, which as you must have figured out by now, is essential to survive in this industry. We will be known as Phat Prik (based on a thai dish off the Thai Express Menu). It has just the right amount of Asian exoticism combined with a provocative pronounciation for that sex-kitten touch. Also, it’s mysterious-sounding enough (Read: Pussycat Dolls, Atomic Kitten, Danity Kane) to make the fans curious about us.

As if that isn’t enough, I’ve also written our first song which is based on the PCD’s award-winning formula:

1) Enough sexual innuendo to be shown on MTV
2) Not so much sexual innuendo that MTV won’t show it

Just to whet your appetite, I present the chorus of our first number-one-hit-to-be: "Car".

“Baby, won’t you wax my car?
Make me feel just like a star,
Slide your sponge under my hood,
Ooh you make me feel so good…

Honey won’t you steer my wheel,
Let me know that this is real,
Shift me into second gear, And stroke my leather interior..."

It’s perfect, I tell you, perfect!!

Now all I need is a tall, leggy girl with a penchant for wearing sports bras and mini-skirts to be the Lead Cat… I mean Lead Prik, four other random girls and some hair extensions for myself and we’re all set to make our first million!

Interested girls only need apply to me. Just let me know what nickname (Cool Prik, Baby Prik, Posh Prik) you want to have, and whether you’ll need extensions or not. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your sports bra.

Watch out, PCD. You won’t know what hit you.