EMERGING ARTISTS & WRITERS: NICOLE SEAH & MEHAR HALEEM
When the morning breaks, it is a cold egg sliding into salted hands, swallowing the naked streets. I am side-stepping burnt sugar and clotted air, treading past crumpled land. In these hands I carry the stoop-shouldered boys spilling with tiredness. Next to the road there’s a river, a softening curve sliced short. I feel the heat give birth to fear in my lungs and know how it feels to come apart. I hear the night blister on my skin and the scorpions tell me they don’t dwell in blank spaces where the pipelines run dry. The land is forgotten and tamed, frayed too far for tears to breathe back life; full circle. Cracked flesh is aware of its own water and tries to open itself up.
I leaked my own nudes last night.
Flung them in the air like flyers for a coaching centre.
Stepped out of my underwear, first left leg then right , stripping myself raw.
Words piling on papyrus, like a mountain of sweaty fabric peels.
Shriveled, crumpled, drenched in smells; words.
Fabric from skin.
Tattoos, tires, scars and all. My bulges, my hollows, parts that spilled out, parts that were never full enough.
Shredded and fanned out into rows and rows of a clothed black sea.
Gaping and ogling.
Clapping and cursing.
At the meat loafs in their hands.
Shipwrecked castaways floating on an oil spill.
Pink flesh in black gunk.
Nakedness far beneath my clothes.
Locked in the damp dungeons below my skin. Prisoners dancing like velvet-clad elves, within
rusted cages that smell of blood and metal.
On rum triggered dreams of freedom, caressed by the pallid moonlight.
Escaping from my fingertips, finding solace in a world that doesn't welcome them.
Now all part of a daily premiere.
Skinny-dipping in the raging clothed sea.
Green sprouts in concrete pavements.
Everyday things; sugar cubes and metro cards.
A way of living.
Nicole Seah is a student in Singapore attending the United World College of South East Asia. Her writing has been featured or will be forthcoming in JUNOESQ Literary Journal, Wallflowers Magazine, EastLit, the Singpowrimo Anthology 2016 and Eunoia Review. Outside of poetry, she is an advocate for a healthy lifestyle and body positivity in women which she blogs about for AWARE women Singapore.
Mehar Haleem is a 17 year old writer. She writes for the editorial board of her school. Her work is going to be published in the forthcoming issue of Inklette. She currently lives in new Delhi, India.