“What is it they say about love? That it’s only possession reimagined.” (a poem for you)

(on 23 November, 2017 & with 0 Comments)

Happy Thanksgiving, my darlings! I hope you are spending today with copious amounts of food & the company of family (the one you were born with or the one you chose). I think we all deserve this time of softness & rest.

I am just popping in this week to share a small poem about food, which I thought was quite apt for this time of year. This piece was originally published in one of my dream journals, Cosmonauts Avenue, right here (do take a look at the full issue, if you are so inclined – it’s endlessly beautiful & a perfect choice if you’re looking for something to read today).

I’m thankful for so much today, but perhaps above all else, the incredible community that has formed in this small space. Thank you all so much for your letters & comments, your support through days both bright & dark, for your noise & quiet, your joy & ache. Thank you for staying. Thank you for listening. Thank you for letting these words make a home inside your chest.

I love you all. Happy Thanksgiving, & enjoy. xx



Love something tender,

chewy, broken in. Translates to ache without border,
expectation blooming to fit the space it’s assigned.

Her name is overcooked. Say it anyway: bright,
memorised, some kind of holy. Nightfall over

& over consuming the skin. Tongue as its own
meal. The girl only as beautiful as she is gone.

Her first love is all these masks. You can’t compete.
Torso threaded in mourning. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m 

nearly finished, I swear it. She is the answer to empty-
handed. Always the smell of burning. The want of

sex in the stomach. It’s evening all afternoon, &
these are the sacrifices you make to finally feel full.

Don’t say summer. That’s too obvious, too clean
for gay girls. Instead, move into vivisection of

history & all its seasonings. Introduce her to your
parents, your gods, your sharpened knives. Fry.

Roar. Eyes in orbit of her mouth. Horizon as edge
of every circle. Didn’t I tell you this would end in tears

eventually? Now here she is in your oesophagus
again. You could kill or kiss her for that. Or

invite her to dinner & pray you remembered to
set out an extra plate. What is it they say about

love? That it’s only possession reimagined. That
it lives outside the body. That it’s florid & empty

& cheating & thankful for so much, so much
it doesn’t know how to name. All her life the girl

has eaten. Now it’s your turn. Doorbell ring.
Quiet bruise. Price of deadly. Anything is yours

if you swallow it.

“Perfection is becoming boring.” (Little Horoscopes for November)

(on 16 November, 2017 & with 2 Comments)

After the excitement of the last few weeks, we are back to our (semi-)regularly scheduled programming on the blog with November’s little horoscopes. These are the second-to-last horoscopes I’ll share with you, which simultaneously saddens me (it has been three beautiful years putting these snippets of light into the world, & that’s always hard to let go of) & thrills me (there is so much wonder coming up that I am absurdly excited to unveil).

As always, I hope you find some softness here to bring you through November. Please do let me know your thoughts – on your sign’s horoscope this month or anything else you’d like to share – in the comments. I always adore hearing from you. Also, thank you endlessly for all the beautiful pictures you’ve been sending of your gorgeous faces alongside your copies of poems for the sound of the sky before thunder, your favourite poems, & your pets cuddled up with the book! If you’ve purchased your copy, I’d so love to receive your pictures on social media or via email.

& in the mean time… enjoy these small horoscopes, my friends. Sending all my love & warmth to you. xx


Little Horoscopes for November

Pisces, the body is both warship & lifeboat; treat it accordingly.
Scorpio, happiness looks gorgeous on you.
Aries, don’t fear the story that starts with darkness & ends in wingbeats.
Taurus, love doesn’t have to bruise to be real.
Libra, you cannot always cure the ache by turning it into poetry.
Sagittarius, stay a little while.
Capricorn, you are whole without them.
Aquarius, try not to drown in all the things you’ve created to keep yourself afloat.
Leo, you are sweeter than a cavity.
Virgo, every word out of your mouth is art.
Gemini, perfection is becoming boring.
Cancer, drive.

Saturday, November 4th / A Sky Before Thunder

(on 8 November, 2017 & with 6 Comments)

From this Saturday’s Singapore Writers Festival launch of my brand-new book, poems for the sound of the sky before thunder

Thank you infinitely to everyone who came & listened & loved. I heard so many incredible stories & hugged so many incredible people. From the single mother whose four year old has umbrella stickers stuck all over the house, small lovely surprises to brighten every shade of rainy day, to the boy who read the whole book at the back of the line when practising throwing grenades for army training, to everyone else who found themselves & their achings between these pages… I can’t express how grateful I am to you for taking the time to come dream with me for an afternoon, & for letting my book touch a soft space inside of you.

Thank you for gifting me with your love & your stories. You sure know how to make a girl feel special (not to mention how to make her cry into her pillow the night after her first book launch out of sheer joy & gratitude).

In case you haven’t yet picked up your copy of poems for the sound of the sky before thunder, here’s where you can remedy that. A gorgeous mini-review can be found in the October 31st print edition of The Straits Times (!), as well as right over here. & of course, I’d be so endlessly honoured to hear your thoughts on PSST, in the comments of this post, over email, or on social media.

Thank you, thank you, thank you, for making this launch as beautiful as it was – & for everything else as well, as simple & as complicated as that is. My heart is so full. xx

Introducing poems for the sound of the sky before thunder

(on 1 November, 2017 & with 1 Comment)

Friends, as you may (or may not!) know, I’ve written a new book. It is my longest one yet & the first I’ve published in print, a collection of poetry that tiptoes the infinitely blurred lines between hurting, hoping, & healing. It speaks of sleepless nights & softened tongues, telling a story dreaming & bone-bright & out of focus in the rain. These poems are only as much for losing as they are for finding, only as much for despair as they are for the light scattered within it, only as much for leaving as they are for finally coming home.

The book is called poems for the sound of the sky before thunderpublished by Math Paper Press, & launching on November 4th at the Singapore Writers’ Festival. Regarding the launch… myself & Grace Chia (author of the gorgeous Mother of All Questions) will be reading some poems, telling some stories, answering some questions, & signing some books from 1:30 to 2:30 PM. The launch is free & open to the public, & we would so love to see you there.

Kind people such as Lydia Havens (author of Survive Like the Water) & Jason Erik Lundberg (author of Red Dot Irreal) have described poems for the sound of the sky before thunder as “a collection [that] feels like home for so many that want and bloom in the same way that Topaz does … gives the reader permission to try and find beauty even in the ugliest parts of their life” & “a remarkable poetry collection from a very talented young voice … full of confidence and grace”.

I thought it would be wise to make an official announcement & do a small FAQ, of sorts, just so there isn’t too much conflicting information floating around on social media:

What formats is the book available in?

PSST is only available in print form. There is a limited print run of 1000 copies & no active plans at the moment to release an eBook version, so you should purchase your copy while they are still available!

Where is the book for sale online?

Only on my publisher’s website. It won’t be available on Amazon, the Book Depository, or other online retailers, but it may be available in various brick-&-mortar bookstores & other outlets in the coming months (still TBD as of right now!).

I’m having trouble with ordering the book, what should I do?

I unfortunately am not able to help with questions regarding the logistics of ordering & shipping PSST. If you’re having trouble, please directly get in touch with my publisher & let them know!

How can I support poems for the sound of the sky before thunder?

I’m so glad you asked! Here is a small list of ideas… you can, of course, buy the book. If you are currently in Singapore, you can attend the book launch this Saturday, November 4th in Gallery II of the Arts House (Old Parliament Building). You can leave a kind review on Goodreads (truly, they help more than you know!). You can send me an email or contact me on social media to tell me what you thought of it. You can mention it to your friends & loved ones, especially those who struggle with mental illness in their own lives. You can get in touch to request an interview with me on your blog, newsletter, podcast, journal, or other bright space. You can educate yourself about mental illness. You can make a donation to the Singapore Association of Mental Health, the National Association for Mental Illness, or your local mental health organisation.

Thank you so much, everyone, for all of the warmth & light you’ve poured into this creation. I can’t wait to meet & hug you on Saturday, hear your thoughts about the book, see your photographs, & hear your favourite lines. I love you all more than words… & I think you know by now that I am pretty damn fond of words. xx