Photo by Laurent Perren on Unsplash



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.