10 January 2006

Photo by El-Branden Brazil.


              Strangers

              We return at night
              from work
              we enter lifts
              press buttons
              exit lifts
              press ourselves
              into our units
              their shapes so similar
              we briefly forget
              the walls that stand
              between.
              Along the common
              corridors,
              we glimpse those
              other lives –
              old school shoes
              left outside,
              small altars of
              red Chinese gods,
              sad, neglected
              houseplants,
              a woman’s voice
              raised in anger
              against defiant
              children.
              The names are blanks,
              the faces familiar
              and forgotten,
              each story
              brief and incomplete.
              Now a door opens,
              then shuts,
              and a window slides,
              then slides back
              again,
              and another day
              closes like a
              hanging
              conclusion.
posted by Gilbert at Tuesday, January 10, 2006

7 Comments:

Blogger dreamer idiot said...

Haunting...through the silences and pauses. How true of HDB life, where u walk down the corridors, yet hardly know your neighbours, sometimes to the extent of not knowing who they are at all.

January 11, 2006  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

it's amazing how we lived so close to each other in a HDB flat, and yet hardly know our neighbours well. it was not like that in the old days. "strangers", what an apt title.

i like the shape of the poem, short, terse lines, like the short interaction we had with our neighbours.

"and another day
closes like a
hanging
conclusion.
"
the ending is great!

January 11, 2006  
Blogger Mr Jherek said...

Excellent poem with its sense on isolation and anonimity makes it almost universal in its appeal, in that it doesn't just apply to HDB flats in Singapore, but any large appartment or housing complex anywhere.

January 11, 2006  
Blogger Cocaine Jesus said...

mr jherek has it bang on the nail.
singapore. new york. london. a truly universal poem in an ever shrinking world.

January 11, 2006  
Blogger Bluesky_Liz said...

Honestly, I like it that way. It's not always well to get too familiar with people you live close to. Just a little smile, say hello (or not) and be on your way. Less aimless conversations, less misunderstandings, less quarrels. I wouldn't be able to stand people who must find something to say whenever we're in the lift together. I see the silence as a form of respect for one another's privacy, not being anti-social.

January 11, 2006  
Blogger MB said...

I like the short
lines that seem
like a very tall
apartment building
where each floor
separates tenants
one from
another...
I've made my point.

January 12, 2006  
Blogger the cloned corpse of marcus tal said...

Perhaps brothers and sisters instead of strangers in the totality of human experience..

January 13, 2006  

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