A few months ago, I wrote a poem for the Body/Language workshop, one that “aims to engage participants in an effort to unpick these notions of gender and to uncover experiences and stories of their own bodies through poetry.” The following is a video of my reading at the Singapore Writer’s Festival this past November.




Because I Am A Girl

That irritating itch is back,
Crawling up my skin like spiders on the loose.
Every inch of my body cries out for them to stop,
But they hold me down in their sticky threads of silk bondage.
Immobilized in speech and action,
I watch helplessly as they inch closer towards my spirit.

Spiders are carnivorous animals,
With furry bodies and vicious claws that yearn for a touch.
They weave webs of various sizes,
Sadistically entrapping prey in the stickiness of their own juices.
This is what spiders live for —
Fresh, delicate, and fragile prey that would writhe in their torturous binds.
Working their jaw from side to side with delight,
They would swoop in for the final caress with their claws before devouring every inch of them.

Gathering the last of my courage,
I turn to stare straight into their eyes.
Lust and hunger steam out of those deceivingly simple eyes,
Seemingly to put me in my place.
I am nothing but a victim to their desires,
Just another body of womanly skin that would satisfy them till the night grows old.

Fireworks of red and orange begin to set off,
As hatred and disgust burn deep within my soul.
Starting with a tingle from my neck,
Life travels down the entire length of my spine.
I feel blood pulsating through every vein beneath my skin,
Rousing me back to the present moment.

Utilizing every limb,
I violently shake off every single spider off my sacred body.
Spiders are stupid creatures though,
Devoid of any respect for boundaries.
I allowed my anger to bubble to its fullest,
unleashing the fireworks I had within onto these disgusting creatures.

Perhaps it was shock,
But the spiders retreat slowly back to their nests.
The knowledge that the game is temporarily over must have dawned upon them.
Hell, the game will begin soon anyway.
After all, they are the ultimate game masters.

I stand here,
Staring at their retreating furry backs.
Surprisingly, relief does not flood my senses,
Shame and guilt do.
This body is a temple for my soul,
But has been repeatedly terrorized by spiders because of their idiocy.
I would love to worship my body,
Slathering it with love and passion.
But these spiders spoilt it all for me.
Now, even though they left me for a brief moment of peace,
They know that they have the power to violate my body again.
Would I have the same courage to protect my body from their prying claws?
Would I ever be clean again?
Would I be able to love myself?
I hate myself.

Because I am a girl,
I am subjected to being a mere object.
Because I am a girl,
I will always be the unwilling victim caught in a web.
Because I am a girl,
I have to submit.

All this happens
Because I am a girl.