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

GUEST POST // Ears Wide Open (Dublin – A Rite of Passage by Miljenko Williams)

The voice of Mils makes butter melt.
His poems are lush, heart-freakin’-felt.
Yeah, lend an ear and you will agree
He deserves to be our first nominee
For audiohood on site Unbolt.
His talent is a much needed jolt
To lift our game and write effin’ good,
To not fear being misunderstood.

Dublin – A Rite of Passage

Before I was soiled: I was
oiled unhappy;
toiling and boiling like
cauldron of darkly wizard-
like pose;
a fingerpinch of spite,
of masculine passivity,
of man who never was become.

Now is another matter:
now he is become:
now he runs like training-
man; now the game no longer judd-
er[r]s, shakes or shudd-
er[r]s out of mind, or sight of flailing
in-
com-
pet-
i-sham.

And of all the sites and scenes delivered,
like rapt-
tured box of heavenly gifting,
the rite of pass-
age which most delivers me
is the right of
so
passing close
you do

give me.
The laughter and tears;
the fears and the hurts;
the love freely expressed:
the goddamn life you contain and inscribe
and so simply
define, with your brain and your being and your

goddamn beautiful face;
your his-
and your her-
and them-
stories bloody out there you unfold and retell and
spin ingeniously around me and my soul and my
being and my hell;
still untold, still unfollowed, still unknown by
most out there.
Dublin: I love you, more
than you
know.
Dublin: I love you, because you and your people
weirdly know how
to make me this [s]well: [s]weller
than [s]weller ever was.

And whilst time is still ours, the future is still
built – upon pasts that are passed;
upon guilts that begin slowly to wash away in
[time-
{s]-
hhh} I say, as
I discover the suddenly that the man
I become is more than the son of his father.

And pictures and faces and sounds and dis-
graces; sexual wroughts that pilfer
my thoughts and make me
happy again; as
happy as free man and
woman can be.

And the days and nights I pass
in remembrance of Dublin
past, and future maybe perfect too,
remind me all the time of you.
And a life recovered
is a life remade;
retaken as warriors burrowing violent
under-
growing and gnawing and
hurting and sad,
and ultimately the [bad-
d-
es–
{t]-
i-
me} of all
is what has recalled me away from
the life I could
live.

And maybe it’ll work, and maybe it won’t,
and maybe it’ll break us;
but if we don’t try and see, and check in and check
out,
we always shall rue the night-
and day-
t-
i-
me-
s
we refused to
pursue the
one life we’d lead
and even enjoy:
good Lordy, oh my …

:-)

… that really such a sin?
To hope for such win?

So I begin where
I start: before and after a-
part of so many experiences,
imagined and real; the soul
and the heart I have refound in
Dublin.
And then what is real if not in the hug
of your embrace?

For a future
begins to replace the before and
after which started so hurt,
and now begins rightly to
away fade to
black …
… not the black of all bad, nor the
black of all pain; just the
black of all colours: the
rainbow of
sane.

 

Text by MILJENKO WILLIAMS
© All rights reserved 2016