Capitalism is an Interesting Creature

Iraq-Babylon-Ancient-2In my armchair sits Philosophy
Regal in rags
Holding a cup of poison
Next to a perpetual fireplace

As the great thinkers of mankind
line the halls
Frantically writing shelves of books,
Arguing about whether God is dead,
Impotent! (a collective gasp!)
A figment of the imagination?
A moral judge who decrees that men and
children die for Him;
Or a moral judge who died for all?

Wisdom says I have to make my choice,
And if I choose to make no choice,
That is a choice in itself.

We discuss the pursuits of utopia,
How we threw Communism away,
(so many people trying to change the world):

States of Monarchy, Anarchy and Apathy;
the nature of humanity–
inherently good, or completely fallen,
Heading to maximum entropy
Or eternal paradise!

Are the wages a tool for freedom,
Protection and a common good,
Or are we just prostitutes to gold
And dust?

Traitor of my soul,
You traded me for thirty silver coins,
my brother.
Cut me out of the inheritance;
If I am to guard a den of robbers,
if truth be told, I am to inherit destruction;
You can have it all.

I throw my willpower in the fireplace.
I drink the cup of poison.
I fall asleep weeping, wailing and
mourning in a garden but don’t die.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 28


#27 Spring Monologue Erasure


Kate Braverman

I want to tell you everything.
deserted    son.
I did
drink god.

O,      myriad
Of my mistakes.

flower petals
Were bankable,

control madness.

It was not
the wild pulse



Type of skin.

But it betrayed me,


more style.

Feel it beating

feathers or straw.


You shed it easy.

This           moment
Of divinity and grace

the cradle, intact

In corridors

a flute than a drum

haunt, kill
And transform.



Yellow canna
Dusk                        porch.


more immortality
perfect kiss
Of pyramids.

one woman        wholly
you will be
birth worlds.

Erasure Poem by Alicia Khoo

Spring Monologue, Kate Braverman

NaPoWriMo Day 27

The original poem by Kate Braverman:

Spring Monologue

I want to tell you everything.
I drank poison.
I deserted my son.
I did it for love.
I tried to drink god.
I opened my heart
And found only the knife
And the cold communion
Of the mystery in passage.

O, the myriad clutter
Of my mistakes.
My contrived ruin
And greed for the ineffable,
As if that equilibrium
Of crystal and flower petals
Were bankable,
Were I flame I could eat.

And this is a spell
To control madness.
Breath deep.
Repeat this.
I will survive.
I must.
To hear voices
Is not enough.
They must be orchestrated,
Taught technique.

It was not the men or women
I loved but the wild pulse
Of insanity.
I trusted it,
Thought it permanent
Like a congenital defect
Or a chemical reaction
Of moonlight and a certain
Type of skin.

But it betrayed me,
Found someone younger
Who died better
And with more style.
Hang on.
I am absolutely certain.
I lived to tell you this
And only this.

Let your womanhood emerge.
Feel it beating, breathing.
It could rise from your shoulders
Like feathers or straw.
Trust it. Listen.
Save yourself.
The bruised dissolves
As it should, used up,
Exposes as small and obsolete,
A subspecies, inarticulate.
You shed it easy.

This is the moment
Of divinity and grace
Of which you have always dreamed.
This is the cradle, intact
In corridors without fraudulence
Or the deliberately deformed.
Not blood words
But something else,
More a flute than a drum
But equal in power,
Still able to haunt, kill
And transform.

Merge with this white square
Of April.
Make sacred what you touch.
Not history or events
But the details.
Yellow canna beside a lawn.
Dusk light across a redwood porch.

Your integrity is defined solely
By what you can hold,
Can press to your lips.
There is more immortality
In one perfect kiss
Than in the stones
Of pyramids.
Defend no borders
But those of sensibility.
Be one woman truly, wholly
And you will be all women.
Tend one garden
And you will birth worlds.

Never Good Enough

Who determines the

standard of beauty?

What we allow to exist

in advertisements and movies

determines the depth of a

plastic surgeon’s pocket.

I want to grow old, gracefully:

wrinkles and stretch marks

pointing to the number of years lived,

the songs I sang,

all the times I ever laughed

and wept;

and the words that come out

of my toothless mouth

magnifying the scars of my heart

every time I tried to love someone

but they wouldn’t let me

because they felt so unworthy

of anyone’s time,

that they would never put on those

dancing shoes and read my lips.

We walk on opposite directions

on either side of the street;

one to the scalpel and botox,

the other to tear down billboards

of filthy lies;

Come with me and we shall reclaim

what once was ours.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 26

Sunshine, Freedom and a Little Flower


For the first time my grandfather
walks slower than grandma;

they’ve been through WWII,
got here on boats and bicycles,

survived the Japanese Occupation
that forever changed our last name,

(or first name, in our culture)
and now we’re puttering at the mall

in Singapore, ex-British colony of immigrants
I left behind a decade ago.

They say I used to be a little monkey
jumping around,

hiding from the thin rattan cane they
would wave in my face.

Heck, most times I threw it
out the window or hid it in couches,

and more magically reappeared.
I prattle in rusty Teochew,

the clan’s dialect (first language I ever learnt);
Perhaps I’m too American now, Australian,

Have some more asparagus,

I try to pick up thin green spears with chopsticks,
while he declares solemnly:

Can’t, I have no teeth.
There’s no fortune cookie in the aftermath,

that’s purely an American concept.
If there had been one, mine would probably say:

Little flower got on plane aching for freedom
but come back for many sunshine.
Learn Chinese.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 21

“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”- Hans Christian Andersen

Things I Need to Tell my Therapist

I'm Nuts

I think I am three or four days behind with NaPoWriMo…thanks all you lovely people for appreciating my pieces and being so encouraging. But before I catch up on poetry, I just wanted to express my outrage. I am so outraged my stomach hurts! So this should be cathartic. What am I outraged about…well….let me count the ways, in no particular order:

1) Boston;

2) Gang rapes in India;

3) The sex-grooming gang phenomenon in Europe (if the statistics show recent Pakistani immigrants, then publish those findings instead of sweeping it under the rug to be “politically correct”, FACTS ARE FACTS!! I have absolutely nothing against Pakistanis in general, but it has been observed that the educational system in Pakistan teaches and condones misogynistic behavior, and this correlates with the high percentage of sexual assault offenders in recent years having recently migrated from Pakistan!!! It is not about ethnicity, it is about the way a particular culture views human rights!!!);

4) People talking more about Psy’s Gentleman track than what is happening with our children and our environment;

5) We care more about guns and wars and finance than education or fighting sex-trafficking and domestic violence;

6) My stomach still hurts, I think it got worse.

7) We start wars over OIL???? Money?? Power??

8) Wars are profit-generating opportunities for those in the weapons industry, that’s where our TAXES are going, we work for money so that money will be used in a way that ensures our exploitation;

9) Industrialized nations trying to “civilize” the agrarian civilizations who never asked for any bloody help in the first place, what with their needles and steel and concrete, they were doing perfectly fine before imperialism/invasion!!! And if they allowed you to colonize them, be GRATEFUL instead of ENTITLED!!!

10) There’s such a thing as an “illegal” immigrant?? Then how the heck did anyone get anywhere in the first place??

11) The media fanning the whole North Korea nuclear crap when all it is doing (as the world powers know so well) is affecting the way people trade in commodities, fear is definitely a potent way of control.

And the list goes on. Thank you for listening. I shall commence writing more poetry and try to sleep tonight.

Peace and love,


NaPoWriMo Day 16

Image courtesy of

the very talented Macha spreads joy, at

(Thank you!)

Fight or Flight

Flock of doves

She envies the birds

and the bees.

One day I will be a bird,

she whispers to the universe.


Her father walks in and she ceases to exist.

Eighteen and out, she tells herself.

As blows flatten her face,

and her hair falls to the floor,

she lays facedown on marble,

in a pool of blood, sweat and tears.

Now a way of life.

Heart still beating

around a campfire,

she meditates on her wings,

sheathed with silver and gold.

© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 6

For all the children and grown-ups out there going through domestic violence, you are not alone. Seek help!

Driving Miss Daisy


You have anger issues, he tells me.

No I don’t! How dare you? I yell and go red in the face.

So I set out my day to prove him wrong.

I smile at the bank teller and speak in a slow soft voice.

He smiles back and thanks me for my patronage.

See, people like me. So far so good.

I pat myself on the back.

A cab driver refuses to let me switch lanes

when there’s plenty of space.

You’re just a test, buddy, I smile

(as I honk and mentally flip him off.)

I drive into a parking lot the wrong way.

A man yells and flips me off.

I shrug at him and say out loud

You’re just a test, buddy.

(PS I wouldn’t shove you off a cliff

but I wouldn’t necessarily be at your funeral.) 

I end up back in my garage nice and happy.

See, I made it through the day

and everything was fine.

Fine like candy-dandy champagne -worthy fine!

Major pat on back.

What’s that, he says,

prying a slip of paper from under

my windshield wiper.

How the heck did I get a parking ticket?

I thunder and rage.

See, I’m not mad at you.

I’m mad at the damn government. 

Hey, just another test,


© Alicia Khoo

NaPoWriMo Day 5