Creative corner: the 4 story shophouse.

I wrote this this evening about the streets I have travelled to and from my work for the last 4.5 years. They are not beautiful but possess a grubby, bustling… magnetism. And a LOT of smells. I write here about the shophouses. They are an Eastern concept, and the old ones are fascinating. The newer ones are less charming, and unfortunately those are they I pass daily. In the mornings, the pavements are clear and the grills are closed. In the afternoons, you can barely walk on the pavements at all. I have a lot of pics on my Instagram feed of this route.

Shut tight like sleeping eyes,
metal-lidded and unseeing
hums pass them at speed.
under them, the path is clear of debris, of hazards, of merchants.
their sour stench remains, ripe in the nose.
Under them, the path is blackened and smeared;
a butcher’s apron; an oilcloth.
Soon the lids will rattle open
not eyes after all, but mouths and throats
coughing and spewing matter out, out!
A sense of cloying, crowding, a tang and a yell.
Rows of silent yawning mouths,
indifferent to long hours gaping, lazily propped wide and deep
packed with a cacophony of coloured pipes, poles, papers, hogs heads
hanging inside, crooked and jammed as teeth.
Breathing. Alive.
as in their hundreds
bees, ants, humans, rats
go about their unending minuatae;
making, moving, consuming


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