poem: Bratislava 2016/ Sydney 2020
Where I’d like to be: a place with clean white sheets.
A hotel room, I’ve always loved them. View from the
window – not the ocean or anything, just trees
on a hill with some brutalist buildings and a pink and
orange sunset at rest behind. Luxurious.
Four years ago I walked the streets of Bratislava thinking
of how much there was to do, how there wasn’t enough
life to fit it all. Exploring every square inch of the world’s
surface. How many people unmet there were who I could
love. Right now I can’t read a single word I wrote back then
without cringing. Now I understand,
more than I did, why Stefan Zweig chose to off himself.
No-one has gone before us, though there are precedents. But
we have entered the crack of light between a yes and a no. I hope
there are people who come after.
poem: Waiting for integrity at a time when everything is on fire
I read a short story once that took as its premise the
idea when you die you go on to a place just like
this – suburbs, traffic lights, ice cream. Exactly the
same only incorporeal, heavenly in some undefined
respect – that’s what you
want, isn’t it? More of the same only slightly
different. People don’t change – there’s a moment at
times of great crisis when you think it might be
possible, another world. This is not the only ending
for this story. More of the pain and the mundane, the ordinary
betrayal which occurs when people could change but they
choose not to, I have given up hoping for anything better or
else. In a way it would be easier if you were
dead, hear me out, I know it sounds
dramatic. If you were dead I wouldn’t have to exist in this
Godot-waiting state, each day you’re alive you could tell me you’re
sorry, tell me what you’re doing differently this
time, I would forgive anything so long as it came from
you. Is that pathetic? Need some escape from the loop of
myself. But now is catastrophe, and when something so terrible
occurs, walls between reality and fiction break
down – change coming through like a slit of unfathomable
light. Well, you know where to find me,
beloved. You can always call.
poem: On a day spent reading chad and virgin slash fiction on the internet
There are days I wake and walk exhausted by
an overwhelming sense of my own lack of
necessity as a person. Well, I write books, but
there are so many of them, and mostly far too
long. I would like humans to be kinder, animals
to live unbrutalised, also for the fascists
to stop pugilising people in their fascistic
way. Also for the assholes to shut up.
I want my birds to live forever.
I’d like to share this with you so
we can look at it together, all of the cruelty,
complicity, all of the people who did not even do
the minimum and that’s why it’s so
fucked up. Looking out together at the same
catastrophe. That’s love.
S.L. Lim is a novelist & poet based in Sydney, Australia.