EARS WIDE OPEN // the ley of three (a firefly’s monologue)

Valentine’s Day is upon us again—a happy time for some, but not so much for others. It has been said that love makes the world go round, but what happens when love leaves? The world stops, and you wonder if you’ll ever get out of bed again. Your precious heart goes dark.

When I lost my faith, I thought I had lost the love of my life. I was wrong. I hadn’t. You cannot lose what was never real to begin with. Nowadays, I am able to see and feel more clearly. I can breathe without the crushing weight of dogma on my chest. The people I now know, I can love wholeheartedly. Of course, I try not to hurt them, but I don’t always succeed, and I am thankful that they can look past my failings. I know for a fact that I am nothing without their kindness and patience.

This poem is an ode of sorts. Yes, it’s for the ones I love. It’s also for the strangers I may never meet. It’s for those of you who have suffered on Valentine’s Day because love left. Perhaps you’ve felt despair within an inch of hope. Perhaps you’ve sensed pain waiting patiently at the door for vows to break. Perhaps old age or ill health robbed you of someone, just when you’d finally learned to forgive and accept. It’s fair to say that love is not for the faint of heart.

This reading was recorded with the accompaniment of a wonderful track by Kai Engel of the Free Music Archive. I hope it can help you in some way. I hope it can bring you some small measure of clarity. And I dearly hope love will find you again, that in the meantime you won’t let your heart go dark.

 

 

 

the ley of three (a firefly’s monologue)

i’ve been ghosting in and out of life
for a good long while now
your life, her life, and my own
i’m the conjuring lost at life’s murky end
and i no longer wish to delay
for night threatens to subsume we three

lone perforations in the dark are we
we’ve tarried here, for hope’s shape to beam
behind us and through
to propel us to… something
but it seems we’re not the stars we prayed for
nor the burning triptych others dismayed for

there’s a fallen saviour, dead in the night sky
and i think we know it
it could have clapped hands over us mankind
but chose not to
us mankind that had pledged not to lose our way
back in the good old days

so, what are we
a chorus of one, or are we not
are we some kind of earthen trinity
go on, you can answer me
are we a three-in-one rumbling spark
that shall never let the heart go dark

i’ve been ghosting in and out of life
for a good long while now
pulsing across the ley lines of our heart
linking the terrain ’til death do us part
mapping the terrain ’til death do impart
a silencing hand for all that lies below and aught above

and i said to myself, ‘if i don’t gain the world
then perhaps i might not lose my soul’
but do i have a soul, and i’ll die anyway
without faint recall to when and from
when and from we three embarked
when and from our heart sank dismally dark

there’s a saviour, dead in the sky
gone to be with a dead god
it could have clapped hands and sung over us
but chose not to
it chose not to reunite us in love, us mankind
at the cusp of a new day that was promised us

so, what are we
a chorus of one, or are we not
are we some kind of earthen trinity
go on, you can answer me
are we a three-in-one thunderous spark
that can never let the heart go dark

i’ve been ghosting in and out of life
for a good long while now
pulsing across the grey lines of our heart
without faint recall to when and from
when and from we three embarked
on our search for the day line of our heart

each day has been eclipsed by the day before
the past has been banished to the past
and mortality’s ephemeral scream
lost yonders have faded us beyond recognition
but who says we can only be here for a short while
yet the stars remain impossibly high (and we cannot be them)

there’s a fallen saviour in the sky tonight
at the right hand of a small god that won’t let us in
it could have clapped hands and brung us over once
but chose not to
we’re blood and bone, us mankind, the earth to till
until judgement day, these are the rules

so, what are we really
a chorus of one, or are we not
are we some kind of earthen trinity
go on, please answer me
the three-in-one continuous spark
we must never let our heart go dark

never

 

Text by TONY SINGLE
Audio by KAI ENGEL & TONY SINGLE
Image by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2020

EARS WIDE OPEN // bussed & buzzed (liplocked)

We wouldn’t be going against our hearts to say that we wrote this one as lyrics for another sappy and silly love song. We even tried to create a melody, and Tony almost had the cheek to sing to it. Alas, we’re much better singers and musicians in our heads than we are in actual recordings. And, quite frankly, we’d have to wait until Hell turned into a winter wonderland before any famous recording companies began a bidding war for this potential… erm… ‘hit’. (Will Rihanna be pushing Beyoncé aside to perform with us any time soon? Probably no.)

Anyway, common sense prevailed, and Tony did his best reading instead. Yes, he mustered as much heart and feeling as he could, and all to the accompaniment of a wonderful track by Kai Engel of the Free Music Archive. This poem is based on a real event that holds special significance for the two authors. Perhaps you, Dear Reader, will also be able to make it your own as you reflect on your loves, both past and present.

 

bussed & buzzed (liplocked)

we kissed on a jetty high above the fishes
where warm swells loll in gentle squishes
where sundog sprawls over planks like a cat
and morn’s dew hangs tight like an acrobat

we kissed on a jetty ramshackle and treen
where birds chirp loud in kerfuffle and preen
where air tangs the nose, spicy and salted
and time’s put on hold, stately and vaulted

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love says to you “adieu”
sometimes “hello”

we kissed on a jetty ’tween shanties bareheaded
where moorings in summer are a web of ropes threaded
where jong-jong gently knock wood together
and pair to wrest free from seabed’s tether

we kissed on a jetty scalloped and shelled
where stormwater drains acapella and meld
where the sun swings low beyond the equator
and nestles sleepily in an extinct crater

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love will gift a horseshoe
sometimes a blow

we kissed on a jetty ’neath stars’ cutting swathe
where moonglade outlasts nude lantern’s bathe
where anemones bloom below neptune’s throne
and crabs sleep like heirs under mossy stone

we kissed on a jetty at the mouth of time’s flow
where the days are real quick and the nights are real slow
where ardour pulses through the veins of conviction
and temptation receives cupid’s benediction

sometimes dreams do come true
sometimes no
sometimes love colours you blue
sometimes yellow

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by KAI ENGEL & TONY SINGLE
Image by TONY SINGLE
© All rights reserved 2018

EARS WIDE OPEN // four in the morning

Dear Readers, Watchers, and Occasional Listeners, welcome to another instalment of Ears Wide Open!

Our main page states that you won’t find an overabundance of brightly coloured pictures, hit songs or other such paraphernalia here. Why? Because we simply want to keep your focus on our texts. This is a literary site after all!

We have, however, also been known to switch things up from time to time. Yes, we’re justifiably leery of shoehorning in things that don’t fit with what we do, but we also like to allow creativity’s natural flow to have its say. This time, we’re listening to that flow, and it’s taking on the form of one Magsi Rover.

Who is she? Well, we don’t know a whole lot about her yet, but we’re fairly certain (but cannot guarantee) that Magsi is a fellow WordPress blogger, Filipino, and loves to read things aloud. And we’re fairly certain that she’s read most of our stuff too. She’s even recorded a couple of our poems and sent them to us! How lucky are we?

Needless to say, our ears are wide open and receptive, and so we’ve decided to share one of her efforts with you, our Dear Readers, Watchers, and Occasional Listeners. Please do enjoy! Oh, and don’t be shy about joining our Ears Wide Open challenge. If you’d like to record one of your favourite poems by us, then please go right ahead and do so. The more the merrier!

 

four in the morning

time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
how to outrun what isn’t free?
i still don’t know what i can be

hope is easy
when it is the first time
hope is easy
when it is the first time
but not when bells have lost their chime
and not upwind the squalls of mimes

be my comfort
deadly jesus, yeah be my friend
be my comfort
deadly jesus, yeah be my friend
brake the wheel afore story’s end
my soul to keep and ever mend

time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
time is a wheel
and it’s bearing down on me
stars like dewdrops across my knee
lacuna matata on the cliffs of scree

 

Text by TONY SINGLE
Audio by MAGSI ROVER
Image by HERR TAMARIN
© All rights reserved 2017

EARS WIDE OPEN // tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

In May this year, a dream came true. Tati and I met face to face! Yes, the girl from Ukraine and the boy from Australia got to greet each other with nervous smiles in a Georgetown airport! After a year or so of fruitful collaboration, we were finally hanging out in an unfamiliar place together.

Malaysia is truly amazing. We spent our days gamboling about, exploring every nook and cranny, and getting to know one another a little bit. The smell from the storm water drains was the first thing to hit us upon arrival, but as our inquisitive minds began to take in the frenetic hodgepodge of sights and sounds that is everyday life there, our noses quickly forgot about unpleasant aromas. In fact, the tantalising whiff of street food would soon fill our olfactory senses instead.

We visited temples, botanical gardens, cemeteries, and even strolled through some obscure lane ways in search of street art, yoga joints and cat cafes. Oh, and the traffic! There were cars and motorcycles everywhere! We had to scoot up onto footpaths so narrow that they seemed like a drunken town planner’s afterthought. In fact, the whole city was a crazy scramble of mismatched buildings and bizarrely angled roads. It was a frenzied hive of activity that never seemed to stop.

And through it all, I was in the company of someone whose imagination easily outpaces my own. We’d use our down time to collaborate on new writings and new ventures. What fun! And even on that last day back at the airport, I remember us furiously typing up something awesome and wonderful on Tati’s laptop before the free WiFi expired. That something was a poem called tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown). Tati and I hope you enjoy this reading of it (by yours truly).

Every time I look at this piece, I smile fondly. I do miss Tati’s company, but hopefully not for long. We plan to make this happen again. I wonder where to next…

 

tanjung (a gangrel’s dream of georgetown)

in the muted glow of my mind
i saw peace just hanging there
i wanted but couldn’t have it
a fruit forbidden
inert and out of reach

there was darkness sweating from the cracks
along my skin and beneath my feet
so i walked the earth in search of naught
a loop unbidden
the streets in parenthesis

i stepped into right steering whirligigs
to chance my life into submission
i moored on jetties, shook off rickshaws
a stomach chidden
i panhandled for bread and circus

trash was art and art was salving
for gashes in walls and souls without traction
and i was art and i was trash
a twine lidden
on soaked paper at a cyclonic bus stop

for all their many eyes and limbs
the gods continued uninvolved
kittens and i slept side-by-side
a shrine hidden
lullabied by stinky holy water drains

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by TONY SINGLE
Image by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2016

EARS WIDE OPEN // anastasis tree

Earlier this year, we wrote a poem called anastasis tree. It’s one of our personal favourites and it seems this was also the case for many of you, our dear readers. Oh, and guess what? We were lucky enough to have the inimitable Miljenko Williams do a reading of it for us. We think you’ll agree that he’s done an absolutely wonderful job. Please do sit back, relax, and enjoy! (Also, may we recommend that you cast a curious ear over another of his readings here? It’s one of his own poetic efforts. Seriously, check it out. It’s SO good!)

 

anastasis tree

thick scabbed bark like a panoply
but tenderer than a wing-stroke
stealthy touches, airy kisses,
cracking, cracking

i’m but a breath, thinly stretched
by potter o’er clay and bone
i’m a tumbleweed in tumbleland
a noose dropped at the hanging tree

gnawing trails through rotten caudex
weaving cocoons inside the heartwood
quivering fibrils, feeble pulse
waiting, waiting

you are closer than the wisp of lips
you are deeper than oceans mere
you are greater than fears all brung
an empty space at the hanging tree

gentle stirring feels like convulsions
nobody asks you when you’re ready
voiceless screams, waterless tears
waking, waking

we all submit that need to know
we know love that seek out truth
we love true another’s name
our troubles left at the hanging tree

you want me for you
i want you for me
so let it be
a butterfly sways
on a hangman’s noose
at the dead tree

 

Text by TETIANA ALEKSINA & TONY SINGLE
Audio by MILJENKO WILLIAMS
Image by TETIANA ALEKSINA
© All rights reserved 2016