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life from the crossroads,
meeting a blood clot
already thickened from
running sweat, a stone's
throw from a ***** four
letter word: P-A-S-T

in another stream (one
wayward than my own)
i would be he, shivering
and possibly unrepentant,
emphatically gone too
far beyond anyone's
morals.

yet in another, i live out
the dreams of the father,
or 'sins' if pure honesty
had its say. what i wouldn't
give for a beautiful wife,
obedient children, a gold
standard like this stanza's
length; prosperous--

preposterous. in my own
uncharted stream, i would
live out troye's dream. free
on the inside, eons removed
from demi's 'sober'. what
choice does one have but
to make pop stars their
patron saints? maybe
mr. a-z has the answer?

scribes and stagehands,
satirists and spirits so
wishfully kindred, i smile
in solidarity. each line a
flame of pathos, each tap
a letter in loosening of
veins, like makeshift gifts
of a medium we inhabit.

to my girl, a lady-to-be
of such unwavering faith,
love someone even when
the party's over. keep
your billie eilish close by
like a bluebird in my heart;
highwayman to highwoman.

but most of all to Him,
patient with my inevitable
candidness just as he would
if my bargain held up. if we
were in love, I might trust
myself to trust You //
A little reliant on pop references :/
Justin Lai Sep 4
i dream of bookmarks
on days better forgotten
ink spilling over

numbness of squalor
these pages, revolving doors
truth within fiction

on sturdy armrests
hearts leaping from cliffhangers
fillers overhead

like sipping of teas
action belying motive
laughs the red herring

over second guessing
of heroes turning human
let presumptions fly

questions, swarming in
faster than the credits roll
home in a stupor
i miss reading
Justin Lai Aug 24
A:
I am lucky
to have friends
who at least
tolerate
my *******

B: That's nice. I just hold my peace.
Aug 13 · 392
outlier
Justin Lai Aug 13
which cards will you draw today?

lethargy is a fickle friend sometimes

so i wish for moonlight within the clouds

of marble floors, rolling paddies that

commerce plows swiftly, masked

soldiers marching zigzag between

        the glare of pink slips

and streams of granulated sugar
I'm currently a workplace safety officer.
Justin Lai Aug 4
They said you have to
    be a man.
Tell me,
    did you ever feel small
    driving your motorcar
        to that bank?
                ~
We came from the clouds
    but not for you.
Still,
    we hope you saw
    your children
        fly
thinking of my parents and all their sacrifices
Jul 30 · 226
like mulaney
Justin Lai Jul 30
i'd like to say oh hello like mulaney
grab a pen and craft stories like ashirogi
sing from the heart like chicks from dixie
and be the top percentage like young joey

but when i look at them
i just want to be
all that i am

and drop the hat
the wisecrack
grab a chair,
listen.
waiter there's a meme in my soup :/
Jun 24 · 119
Gratitude
Justin Lai Jun 24
Memories of an old friend's drum;
rejoice as your paths intertwine
and leave an emerald mark,
like a ferry towards safer shores
to guide you between kin's ways,
planting the roots of clarity
where you'll grow with the rhythm
of a ready wan light.
Thank you to teachers past and present, even if it's just a little advice you gave 😁
May 2018 · 264
(and now you know)
Justin Lai May 2018
He takes his last breath
for the night. The music
from exhaust engines
tire themselves out. Inside,
petty advisors punch their
timesheets, setting aside
solicitations for flowcharts
and returning to their ever
shrinking dormitories.

Good. Now we can begin,
the sugarplums declare.
(or are they centrefolds?)

It begins and ends like
every other cycle, not
that consistency matters
at all. Swivel, sway and
trot, or so is often thought.
Troops of the troupe
clean up nicely without
noise, nor is assembly
required. Soon enough,
the stage is ready.

A very handsome entity
(perhaps) pirouettes. No
matter if the platform
dissolves, for the performer
had rehearsed it between
routines. Now how about
the audience? Has the lone
ticket been sold? And the
theatre, well-unlit?

Yes. The prelude—or truth
be told—distraction bows
itself out. Stagehands,
raise them curtains up!

Eyes have no interest
in foreplay. What is in
play—skydiving?
Wakeboarding? Nudes
to the beholder?
—can only be
temporary. No actor
overstays their place.
Always, an unannounced
but not unexplainable
cameo, a kindred
spirit seeking presence
in the now, only serves
a sense of urgency,
of misplaced longing.

And then,
you wake up.
A spinoff of (you don't even know)
May 2018 · 186
Enabler
Justin Lai May 2018
red lull doze loose slip rush touch
web play warm pulse stretch flow wet
jolt
        weak cold wake clam wash clear
trod tense tight hold heave help
        sprain kin strain keep
        shut gross press pore
                           wings whiff wade win

clue ask nod green
        joust laugh jump red
Playing with monosyllabic words.
May 2018 · 211
(you don't even know)
Justin Lai May 2018
"Don't do anything rash."
"I won't."

Then I closed the door and began dreaming.
How forbidden are your fantasies? Is that why they exist only between days?
Feb 2018 · 281
I-VI.
Justin Lai Feb 2018
I.
    don’t.
        don’t cross out yourself. is
          what he’ll say if
           the stars actually aligned
         and the corridors emptied
       like magic,

         he dreamt
        of a place
          where fairies weren’t female
         or prancing like he did
        in his hard hat
       a steel wall from words
      better left unsaid


II.
     skin.
       upon skin upon skin
         upon fragrant how’s and wow’s.
    he never cared much until
      a glance, a look,
         a stare for far too long,
   slow burn in his heart
  while his cheeks
         red
  handed from a look in return.

    a wink? a glare?
      anything at all?
   the other he stares
  at the soul who dares
    not to reveal
   to unconceal
       a tender yearning
             of minds too raw
              to compute the
     facts, but also,
     the shared values.


III.
      deft.
          that’s what it’s called,
        in the dark and
         in the calm.
    vigourously,
            scrunched up in a
      kaleidoscope   of
                                   dreams,
                     lapping it
                                up
                                  sooner
     than he almoste̶d̶ wanted.
          blame the other he,
              his “other he”.


IV.

Time passes.
Fact or fiction,
question or conviction?
No one locks his heart away,
not his hands,
not his arms,
and not even his mind.

His mouth does all the talking,
keeping mum on what
    the heart dares to
but siding with dad
    when time takes its bow.


V.

Can I say something?
    Forget him.
            Or her and him.
As light comes
        to truth tells,
    what do I own,
          if not these takes
            on a single story
              or married multiverse

         or divorced demise?
Stars tell no lies
         At least in La La Land.
    If one could only dream
   that I had never
  deftly —


VI.
fullness,
            clearing of the breeze
          the gentle clutter of nothingness
                        done right by
                                  the slate.
        no one has
             depleted
          no cell has
                 raised its hand
if only equilibrium was truly consistent
                                  don’t we all
                                    
                               don’t it all
                                  
                         — don’t you?
this is a tale from a fading night.
Feb 2018 · 211
Unusual
Justin Lai Feb 2018
I wish I could
make a bouquet
out of words
left unused

Mama always said
not to waste food
well
why not words:

the unit circle
The Boy with
// W47 “The Boy //
May 2017 · 259
Otherworld
Justin Lai May 2017
I.
He used to be troubled in
                        his thoughts.
One day, he decided to
            talk about it,
                        write about it.
With each stage came
            understanding.
Now,
    he dreams only of peace.

II.
Though fear never leaves him,
    he hugs it so tightly
        like a lost boy finding
            his dad.
With every soul he touches,
    he sees not beasts but
        blossoms.
Each with their own
    fragrance and thorns.

III.
Coming from a lifetime
of detours, the
forks on the road now
ready to be mapped out.
Choosing to embrace
them all: caged
hearts of loved ones,
caring more with every
burden freed.

IV.
At the end of all ends,
he lets himself sink,
a former wanderer at
home with the earth.
Life isn't always a utopia, but you can find heaven within :)
Apr 2017 · 630
Pretty Pester
Justin Lai Apr 2017
Pretty pester
The fist-bumping champion
Schoolyard jester
My all-time fixation

Classroom walls shake
When you guffaw and laugh
Makes my heart ache
When every tease’s a bluff

Beneath your grin
I long to find your glow
But it’s a sin
So says your burrowed frow

My heart wishes
In another lifetime
Pranks to kisses
With your hand locked in mine
Inspired by 1) Taiwanese high school movies and 2) my own high school memories
Apr 2017 · 1.3k
Robot Boy
Justin Lai Apr 2017
They built me, standard-grade,
But with one crucial chip missing.
While other models are made
Programmed for social networking.

Laughter and jibes, except
This variant groping in the dark.
Much signs to intercept,
Machine simmers, overheats, sparks.

Every version upgrade,
Alas, still just one step behind.
Patience in every trade;
Stranger, if you could be so kind...
I've ran out of computer metaphors xD
Nov 2016 · 1.6k
System (a Singapore subway)
Justin Lai Nov 2016
Pods routed back and forth
Inside
Cells linked to the central nervous system
Soulless

The cry of a sapling
Lush, primal sounds
But deaf to the neighbours
All distracted by a stream
A tweet

"Doors closing..."
Repeated beeps
Launching sprints
Rivalling Olympians
But not all pass the finish line

The end of the line:
School
Work
Leisure
Three modes activated
Upon the opening of pod doors

A hurry
Never stopping
Never hearing
Never open
Of hearts
Wallets

A song from yesterday
The flower withers
Pulp for pennies
The flower withers
Only so much could be done
Outside the system

— The End —