Shotgun Stars

Deep in the night, I see twinkling stars

Beady little eyes watching me from afar,

Judging me, blaming me, for the wrongs I’ve committed,

But how can they blame for wrongs they permitted?

Alone in the night, I remember your face

And the way my heart burnt while you still held a place

In each heartbeat, each breath, every thought that I held

But those days are past; those thoughts have been quelled.

But beneath all these stars, time blurs in strange ways

And I start to feel things I forgot yesterday

Dreams come alive, and your face appears clearer

And the ways that you wronged me reach a bit nearer

I no longer regret the times I lashed out

Your lies left me empty, and filled me with doubt

The whole world might judge me, and call me a fool

But my only mistake was falling for you

And, inside these nights, I dream of the day

When the memory of you will fade far away

When the holes from your bullets will finally heal

And it won’t hurt so much when I try to feel

Soon I’ll be strong, and your memory won’t hurt

Even now I know better. I’m resilient, I’ve learnt.

I’ve hardened my heart and I’ve fixed up my head,

And, next time I hurt, I will not see red.

And the stars, they won’t judge me, they’ll just cheer me on,

I’ll be above petty anger, and finally move on

Don’t believe me? Just watch. One day, I’ll be free

Unburdened and uncluttered of pained memories

Your bullets won’t reach me; I’ll be miles too far

Dancing in the moonlight beneath a sky full of stars


Nightly Revisions

At the end of the day, as I lie in my bed,

Three million thoughts collide in my head.

They argue and clash, contradicting each other,

I feel like a stranger in the mind of another.

Because such disharmony has never been ‘me’

I’m passionately naïve, light-hearted, carefree

I toss crumbs to birds, build snowmen outside,

Lie on the lawn and count clouds in the sky

But now I’m on fire — or, at least, in my head

I burn with regret for things left unsaid

I play my mistakes like a tape on repeat

I prey on my flaws; they’re pathetic and weak

There’s no room for error in my judgemental eye

Only perfection’s accepted — when I slip, people die

You see, my job doesn’t deal with bank loans or jewels,

Policies on paper or mechanical tools,

I am a doctor; I care for the sick

Try to ease suffering, make their recoveries quick

I cram my brain full of studies and charts

Schematics of lungs, brains, livers, and hearts

All for the chance that one day it means

Life over death for someone between

But sometimes I can’t help, or make poor decisions,

And it’s those thoughts that weigh in my nightly revisions

Not just about facts and knowledge and such

But about communication and caring, speech and touch,

I’ve had three million rules drilled into my head

Of words not to use, and what to say instead,

How to act, how to speak, how to think, how to breathe

And the best ways to put a frightened person at ease

Of course all of these are vital lessons to learn

A patient’s trust is something that has to be earned

But with all this practice of what to say, do, and be

Somewhere in its midst I’ve forgotten how to be me

It’s so artificial, this actress, this clone,

I follow commands like an sci-fi drone

I no longer build snowmen, and toss crumbs to birds

When I look at the clouds, it just feels absurd

Like a huge waste of time that I should be spending

Focusing on the sick on their road back to mending

There’s no time for rainbows or butterflies or fun

No point in it, too, not when there’s work to be done

They say I will ‘burn out’, but that seems naïve

When there’s so much to learn, do, say, know, be!

…and a coffin’s a heavy thing to rest on your heart

When somebody dies though you did more than your part

Yes, sometimes it’s inevitable, but that’s hard to accept,

And, as I lie there at nights, I see the dead coming back

They come in my dreams, and sit on my bed

As shame and regret parade through my head

Maybe one day I’ll fight them away, but for now,

I just let them be, for I do not know how

Metal Heart

Still as death and cold as stone

It rests in his chest, and loves alone

He knows no joy except his own

His metal heart’s as hard as stone

He finds no charm in children’s play

No rousing thoughts at dawn of day

He bears no pity for those in need

He demands his dues, and makes them bleed

His eyes are open, yes, they see

But his heart’s a cavern, half-diseased

He has no sense of love at all

He delights in grief, in others’ falls

He’s the cruelest man, with his metal heart

Too starved of love, too dead to start

It cycles blood relentlessly

But, without love, it’s incomplete

Hell Freezes Over

And, for a moment there, Hell freezes over

The drunk, drunk feeling leaves me all too sober

I don’t want to remember, but I can’t help replay

Everything that happened on that long-ago day

The games that you played and the threats that you made

The way you made me feel — like a runaway train

Twisting and turning to some new disaster

I tried to outrun you, but you were faster

You painted a picture of an idyllic home scene

But your love was a lie. I saw it turn green.

I saw your heart turn, and I let the world burn

The bitterest of lessons you forced me to learn

In a world drenched in flames, nothing ever seems right

And I pause for a moment, turned blind by the light

In its quest to stop feeling, my heart turns to wood

And Hell freezes over, just like I told you it would

Blowing Snow

A fractal flake of glass and ice

Floats for a moment before it dies

It melts away in puddled pools

But is splashed away by rushing fools

Who hurry through the ice and snow

A thousand places they need to go

But never do they stop to see

The wondrous winter’s clean beauty

The luminescence of a winter scene

Kissed by snowflakes, and made pristine

And quilted in a snowy glaze

The backdrop of winter’s chilly days


It never ceases to amaze me: the courage of Hobbits.

’twas dark far too early, a midwinter’s night,

when I roamed down the sidewalk, my coat wrapped tight,

The sun had departed, but the moon ran behind

And, without either light, I walked around blind

Perhaps that made me conscious of the sounds of the night

Every creak, every rustle that would normally cause fright

But tonight things were calmer — a dry breeze in the air

Was the only sound lingering. Other than that, nothing there.

Or at least so I thought, until the murmur of words

Broke through the air, leaving the silence disturbed

I concentrated harder to determine the source

Of this lackluster humanoid air-driven force

And just by the lamplight, in the dim yellow light,

I spotted pure courage, in the midst of a fight:

Two lads and a lady, in full suit attire

Were discussing their…interviews(?) and what had transpired

I stepped a bit closer, for I was curious to hear

What strange undertakings had burdened those here

Why they dawdled without fear underneath the pale lamp’s light

And why they wandered courageously through a midwinter’s night

They spoke of far-off places, where I’d never been

A thousand distant cities of which I’d only dreamed

And in this idle manner they made lists in the snow

Pointing to the places they still had to go

And the hours which they spoke of keeping seemed inhumane to me

Was there no place better for these wanderers to be?

Yet there they stood, immaculate, immune to snow and cold,

Discussing conversation politics with fervent voices, bold

Discussing with finesse the minutiae unknown

About training to be a doctor, that no layperson knows

It was not too long after that I saw them moving on

Picking up their burdens and trudging bravely on

Onto new adventures in cities far away

Hoping one would pick them — one day soon, one day

Hoping to be selected for the noblest task of all

To care for others in deepest need, they’d found, in life, their call

And so they wandered through the midst of winter cold and ice

From place to place they fled and flew, a blur of day and nights

And that was when I realised that I’d seen no strength like it before

A final-year med student in the midst of their CaRMS tour


Like the jagged edge of a broken sword you cut

a wound deeper than it seems to be from the

surface. How puffs of air could be so cruel is mind-

boggling unless of course it is by accident, which is

why i use my own words to counteract yours in a

failed soundwave perhaps explainable by physics but

for you everything i have to say just falls flat. well,

the world revolves around free choice but remember

that it was your choice to start this and my choice

to end it, so when the cameras flash and twitter stings

don’t come crying to me to end it.

i already did.

Running Blue

In and out of black he dreams

As he lies wrapped up in blues and greens

A sea of hospital blankets and gowns

A sea of cloth in which he drowns

As desperate nurses soak up the red

He’s bleeding out — that wound on his head

Is too big a gash to know how to treat

And then, just like that, his heart stops to beat

And then there’s a panic, they call a Code Blue

The grey-coated speakers vibrate in the room

White gloves are donned as they press on his chest

The sequence is clear; this is cardiac arrest

Copper is the colour of the meds in the vials

Brown are the eyes which blink in denial

When nothing starts working and the man stays dead

Even when he’s stopped bleeding from the wound on his head

Red are their eyes when you tell them the truth

You’re calm, though your body is dying to leave the room

Bad news is awful even without the guilt

Of feeling, somehow, that his blood you spilt

…orange is the candle they draw on the page

In the obituary section, where they write his name

But blue is the memory that stains in your mind

A code blue you couldn’t save — no, not this time

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

A hundred million rows of men

Descend upon my mind again

Their arrows fly, blades held aloft

Yet the touch is strange, gentle and soft

I guess a knife’s a welcome change

From the anguish I feel, day after day

For dreams reflect our real-life woes

And my dreams prove the distance I’ve to go

To find forgiveness in my heart

For the things I’ve felt rip it apart

That’s why I see these nightmare men

Who represent the things I’ve said

Which haunt me in the worst of times

Ripping through memories in my mind

But how can I escape them, though?

If only I knew how to let things go

Saturn’s Rings

Like Saturn’s rings, you spin around

Your giantess, already crowned

Her colours blur your vulgar thoughts

You men are cheap, by beauty bought

Your mistress turns her orbit lanes

While I revolve in lesser planes

A pile of rock and ice, dull grey

Yet she’s an orb of gaseous rays

No wonder you turn your head like you do

If I beheld such beauty, I’d do the same, too


But all of space and time can’t buy

A love like yours that’s free from lies

Beauty is a deadly catch

And her poisonous fumes will leave you trapped

And you’ll go up in smoke one day

While your belovéd floats away

Beauty lives for but a day

But a small sturdy rock forever will stay