Poem: My little red bag

My little red bag,
Holder of plastic,
Carrier of faces,
Owner of nothing.

On you etched,
Reminder of days
Running on the spot
Involuntary service

The country! They said,
Freedom! They cried
Yet the enemy
Not in sight.

Brothers around
Puppet anger,
Abang no less,
One and the same.

My little red bag,
Given the day,
I left your meaning,
I left your jail.

Now with me,
Always my side,
This journey I chose,
This torment not.

Two places I live,
Two lives I lead,
Two sets of friends,
Two accents I fight.

Learn without living?
Or live without learning?
I never knew,
The trade I had to make.
My little red bag,
Your only purpose served,
On long flights,
When lives I must change.

Home to Study,
Singtel out! Babe Bell in!
DBS out! AMEX in!
Return vice-versa.

Yet vice-versa,
Joy do I feel,
To go home,
To breathe the air.

To feel home keys,
To taste the nasi,
To call her Auntie,
To be the king.

My little red bag,
You do nothing,
Just sitting here,
Waiting there.

Till you I next summon,
Dragging you onboard,
More flights than most,
Less air than most.

You remain
The sign of my loss
Reminder of my choice,
Why’m I here?

To serve me or you?
Pleasure not mine,
Pain not mine,
Existence questionable


Note for context: I wrote this in 2000, as an undergrad in California


My other poems:

Oh, you wretched soul

What the papers white out

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