at dopamine harbor by Nadia

At Dopamine Harbor

they’d branded me a seussian grave-head- –
those fractal tellers did, at the whalemouthed, fumeless exit }
chromium debris”, they’d christened my toes
sized me up and synchro-ruled me:
a necroholic puppet to pave the nihil-march- –
down the Armageddon aisle.

they’ll warble at your doorbell soon, I’m sure- –
reckon you a circus-pile of reject axons
{ tightropes a morbid-measure too loose
for panoramic liking.
“and, if you could, young anomaly- –
bid the psycho-lions out
of their quixomatic dens }
we do honestly want to eviscerate them—”

but don’t be afraid
I’ll meet you—

x – 1 ;

take your dime-sized chimeras and 
jack-in-the-dendrons, I’ll
teach you where to go, where those
manxome eyes’ll fit in those entrails, neat—finally, right- –

;; x – x

I’ll meet you down down down down
at dopamine harbor- -where the hypodermic felons are.
your tongues can play a festooned game and I’ll
watch with feline graphtoid slits- –

maybe therapy’ll blossom then
for the both of us
a nicer kind (- –void of shitty prism-prophecy
 for us = (the spirograph and the mortem fang)

just us. and no one else—


For the polar outliers (you, and me).

Written by Nadia Sim, Assistant Head of TBC Public Relations
(originally featured on her writing blog at http://soulgrade.wordpress.com/)

Original Fiction: The Boat by Lim Shen

theboat

“I think we’re in deep shit,” gasped Manso, as he struggled to keep the boat steady.

“Thank you Mr. Obvious! Keep hold of the rudder!” Juno, his companion, snapped back, hands straining at the oars to no avail. A huge wave crashed upon them, drenching them in saltwater. The waves were just too big, the current too strong. The two were at the mercy of the sea.

This morning was supposed to be perfect, Manso thought. Before dawn, when the world was still asleep, they had slipped out to sea in their dad’s fishing boat. They had hoped to catch some tuna, although it was not yet the season for it.

Fat chance of that now, he thought dourly. In their excitement, the duo hadn’t noticed dark clouds gathering on the horizon and were caught in the path of the storm as they attempted to flee.

Another wave washed over them. The world turned ocean blue for a moment. Spitting seawater, Juno snarled, ”You got any bright ideas now, Mr. Genius?” Wearily, Manso scanned the horizon, then sat up straight.

“I see the lighthouse! We’re close!” Manso exclaimed. He almost stood up to get a better look, but the perilous rocking of the boat gave him pause to reconsider. Juno renewed his efforts at rowing, trying to guide the boat towards the lighthouse. We’re so close, Manso thought desperately. He could see the outline of the lighthouse set against the early morning sun. Somehow, it looked dark and forbidding, shrouded in black. Like a reaper standing in wait.

The sun’s behind it, Manso suddenly realised, we’re in the shadows! The rocks – we can’t see them!

“Sideways Juno! We can’t see the rocks! Move, move!” he heard himself yell. Manso threw the last of his strength against the rubber, desperately hoping that they could make it in time. Juno immediately switched sides and paddled frantically. The lighthouse loomed ominously above them.

They could see the rocks now, glistening as the sunlight reflected upon the surface, sharp and jagged – ready to embrace them. The boat propelled towards one of them, helpless in the sea’s embrace. Manso could see the edge of the rock. It twinkled seemingly in devilish delight. We’re so dead, he thought, we’re so dead, we’re so de-

Suddenly, the boat dropped. They were riding a wave, holding on for dear life – and then  the wave broke. One moment the rock was almost upon them, the tip unerringly zooming towards Manso’s face; then it was gone – disappearing behind them and sinking into the next wave.

The boat drifted into the harbor behind the lighthouse, buoyed forward by the strength of the wave. A ring of piers surrounded the harbor, shielding it from the rage of the sea. Calm descended upon the water. The waves crashed upon the lighthouse behind them, the force causing water to pelt them in a light drizzle.

After a moment, Manso realized he was still gripping the rudder. He tried to let go. Stings of pain shot through him as he released his grip. There were splinters in his palms. Beside him, Juno was storing the oar under his seat, his face grey and haggard.

“You alright, Juno?” Manso whispered, too spent to raise his voice. Even the pain from dipping his hands into the sea did nothing to him.

Juno turned and did not reply. For a long while, silence reigned. Seagulls circled them in the air, their cries deafening in the silence of the harbor. Manso could see Juno’s back heaving from his breathing, his weariness evident even from a distance. A slither of fear crawled into Manso’s heart, what if –

Juno abruptly turned around, causing Manso to yelp.

“Next time…” Juno hissed. “…let’s just take the one with a motor, I don’t wanna paddle ever again.”


Written by Lim Shen

biotic compendium of warts

Biotic Compendium

gestation in the vitreous moor- –
self-charted. i confess
to have helmed the orchestration in ninth-degree
– -and is it so wrong to bare a blister
in the geo-cryptic light of terra-gloria?

ave bioticum. “

mundane power to the fireflies- –
that tower on crucifixion stilts.
one haggard piercing, to two—
maroon foibles in the spilling-forth’s- – and
– -and is there more to us than mercantile fame
than troves of trade-away rhythms and screws, to
mount on { the Idol that looms tartarean: –
– eater of warts in the numinous dark. }

mundane power to me as- –
I plunder, capture
confiscated blemishes at quaking-large.
pilfered from the dire womb that threatens
ceramic expulsion- –set to mannequin heights and doctored values that
blaspheme us. blaspheme us

and I shall, if I shall- –

– -return the warts;
to naked codex
to library of fleshhood.
where the code of Us contrives a havoc to remember.

{ ave bioticum.


Written by Nadia Sim, Assistant Head of TBC Public Relations
(originally featured on her writing blog at http://soulgrade.wordpress.com/)

Recommendation: Emperor – The Gods of War by Conn Iggulden

Emperor- The Gods of War
Are you a fan of Ancient Rome? Do you enjoy reading about the astonishing achievements of one of the greatest Roman figures in history? Then here’s a read for you that will grip your attention through sheer literacy.

Emperor: The Gods of War is the fourth novel in the Emperor series written by Conn Iggulden. It tells the story of Julius Caesar as he marches on his beloved country, Rome from Gaul in pursuit of Pompey the Great, who has assumed dictatorial powers and a mandate to destroy whom he calls ‘The Traitor of Rome’. The story continues with his adventures in Egypt and ends with his assassination.

Featuring an epic tale of courage, battlefield tactics, comradeship and more, this book will engross you to no end. You will be able to see how Julius Caesar, the most powerful man in Rome, achieve remarkable success both on the battlefield and in politics, but was betrayed by his closest friend on the Ides of March.


Submitted by Ryan Lim

denim in the milk-lorn dipper

Denim in the Dipper modified

he isn’t sure sometimes.

whether stars are shaven peppers of Orpheus’ lips,
or whether moments are dreams, or if the nylon formula of reverie thrives in reverse-calibration after all—

Because, “you wouldn’t believe it though—the counter-skeptic’s ink spews a mystic tail: even he does not.

“you wouldn’t believe the glimpses
that courted the breakfast I had
a couple of fog-whisked o’clocks ago.

the militant bunnies stooped in maple- –
shed grenades for a pretty waste, lithic pastille-greens;
the toilet’s in the lavender, if you couldn’t
past the Teapot factory, in the cockeyed morn’.

{ but, really– –directions matter one-to-naught in
the paradigm of nimbus Fancy. }

there was more, “and I swear….well maybe- –
buttermilk-drones, and
too-long, naked prongs- -pax robotic;
calcium keys and phosphorific.
egg-shells housing dapper owl-wraiths
that fume and figure less than mythic—

and you wouldn’t believe it though, 
but 

there was even denim in the dipper
textures gurgling at paper temperature
frays bleeding over- -foam-proxies
where I’d padded them –

I remember now I’d
I’d planted them
Alice engrams where the mildewing lonely’s
festered in silence. zero

for company. 

{ ? ……  }

and Morning trundles on
for the boyish specter
with another spread of denim
from the milk-lorn dipper. }


Written by Nadia Sim, Assistant Head of TBC Public Relations
(originally featured on her writing blog at http://soulgrade.wordpress.com/)

Theme of the Month: Music

May 2017 (Music)

Another month, another batch of prompts to get the pens rolling! Set your muse to scaling decibels with the ‘Music’ of your choice. Remember, submissions in response to prompts from all previous theme collections are welcome as always.

  1. “Music is the universal language of mankind.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
  2. Put on your favourite song/artist/album and write what comes to mind.
  3. Rhythm.
  4. “There are some things you can never lose once you find them—your voice is one of them.” Write a short story containing the aforementioned quote.

Detailed below are the guidelines to be adhered to when submitting via the website’s Contact/Submissions tab:

  • All manners of written submissions (prose, poetry, short stories, opinion pieces, etc.) are welcome in response to prompts — unless otherwise specified in any given prompt.
  • Poetry submissions should not exceed 150 lines in length.
  • Submissions of short stories should fall in a designated range of 1,500 – 3,000 words.
  • Aside from the above-stated content, all written entries of other sorts should not exceed 1,500 words.

Best wishes,

The Taylor’s Book Club

Book Club Activities and Events (24 – 30 April 2017)

On Thursday, 27 April 2017, we held a general meeting, discussing the upcoming Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair 2017 event, and had an entertaining session of Cards Against Humanity. We welcomed fresh faces and celebrated returning members.

On Saturday, 29 April 2017, the Vice-President, Ryan Lim, and Treasurer, Claudya Octaviani, brought a group of members to the Kuala Lumpur International Book Fair.

the mecha-lark definition ;

The Mechalark Definition

In response to the prompt “If you could send a message to the most influential figure of your childhood, guaranteed to be read by them, what would you write?”


impudent. } 
so scathes thy concrete will – –
out a mercury-spout, regulations hum
salacious song to sparrow’s meagre dance.
– – ah and,
you’d like the tune—wagers he, teeth brewing a shot of glee in the knife-night—
the way it wraps itself
around those neural tombs
where you buried all and epsilons and me.

– where is your
{ hiss and tangent ; haemo-vengeance—
where is your sparrow now

{ wretched warlock
I bid to you, hello; I have- –
gin a-cacklin’ in the boiler-room
a quarter-bone away. you’d
want some.” – –claim a heckle, a high and the inverted-fang sculptor.

i’d reversed the spines while you were away
sapped minuses to imitation void.
see? see—!

see the lacunae we groomed along that fallow equator- –
see the machinated looms, the figure-funnels
see the mecha-lark; its harrowed beginnings—

see the fledgeling corridor, the spite-lines- –
that haunt, a slave-movement to
{ bohemian nocturne , psi-concoction:
of Leviathan composer.
see the mecha-lark; its macabre medium—

see my gift for you, prancing memento
see the { needle } in the winery,
the heart in the beat- –
;
ready the adieu, ready
for the mortal turbine in the blue.
for the ribcage roundabouts that spin, livid
for you. my defamation darling
and see the mecha-lark, its avant-end—

—and blood, soon; shall it reap off you.


A boy’s ode to his ‘faultless’ brother (in conjunction with National Poetry Writing Month).

Written by Nadia Sim, Assistant Head of TBC Public Relations
(originally featured on her writing blog at http://soulgrade.wordpress.com/)

Recommendation: A Cup of Salt Tears by Isabel Yap

full_cupofsalttears
illustrated by Victo Ngai

An excerpt from Tor.com,

She hears a soft splash and opens her eyes. Someone has entered the tub, and seems to be approaching her. She sinks deeper, letting the water cover her upper lip. As the figure nears, she sees its features through the mist: the green flesh, the webbed hands, the sara—the little bowl that forms the top of its head—filled with water that wobbles as it moves. It does not smell of rotting fish at all. Instead, it smells like a river, wet and earthy. Alive. Some things are different: it is more man-sized than child-sized, it has flesh over its ribs; but otherwise it looks just as she always imagined.

“Good evening,” the kappa says. The words spill out of its beak, smoothly liquid.

Makino does not scream. She does not move. Instead she looks at the closest edge of the bath, measuring how long her backside will be exposed if she runs. She won’t make it. She presses against the cold tile and thinks, Tetsuya needs me, thinks, no, that’s a lie, I can’t even help him. Her fear dissipates, replaced by helplessness, a brittle calm.

In A Cup of Salt Tears, the author effectively captures the extent of the grief and helplessness of the protagonist, Makino, that threatens to overwhelm her at the most crucial moment of her life. Her husband, Tetsuya, is hospitalised and although she visits as much as she can, she can sense his growing detachment and worries about the underlying implications. She internalises her fears and seeks solace in a public bath, losing herself in her internal reflections. And when the kappa appears to her in her grief, she recalls the traumatic incident of almost being drowned as a child.

From there, Makino’s psyche is further explored as she reconciles the information the kappa offers and the warnings of her childhood. She struggles with herself when she entertains the possibility of saving Tetsuya – but at what cost? A Cup of Salt Tears flows and ebbs like the course of a river, at times immersing the reader in quiet, contemplative moments and other times, depicting the danger of dealing with unpredictable forces. It excels in the melancholy and is a understated character study of a woman in the throes of grief.

Recommendation: Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma

fabulousbeasts_story_full1
illustrated by Jeffery Alan Love

Fabulous Beasts weaves an intricate and haunting tale of a strange woman, a herpetologist by profession, and her lover, a photographer, who live in luxury together but share a dark, intertwined past. Eliza, as she presents herself to the world, recalls her true identity as a girl named Lola, whose childhood was mired with a troubled single mother and their dysfunctional dynamic with their extended family.

An excerpt from Tor.com,

“Eliza, tell me your secret.”

Sometimes I’m cornered at parties by someone who’s been watching me from across the room as they drain their glass. They think I don’t know what’s been said about me.

Eliza’s odd looking but she has something, don’t you think? Une jolie laide. A French term meaning ugly-beautiful. Only the intelligentsia can insult you with panache.

I always know when they’re about to come over. It’s in the pause before they walk, as though they’re ordering their thoughts. Then they stride over, purposeful, through the throng of actors, journalists, and politicians, ignoring anyone who tries to engage them for fear of losing their nerve.

“Eliza, tell me your secret.”

“I’m a princess.”

Such a ridiculous thing to say and I surprise myself by using Kenny’s term for us, even though I am now forty-something and Kenny was twenty-four years ago. I edge past, scanning the crowd for Georgia, so I can tell her that I’ve had enough and am going home. Maybe she’ll come with me.

My interrogator doesn’t look convinced. Nor should they be. I’m not even called Eliza. My real name is Lola and I’m no princess. I’m a monster.

Growing up, Lola’s relationship with her mother, whom she refers to as Kath, is strained and distant; her only true comfort is her cousin Tallulah, with whom she shares a close relationship akin to being sisters. Tallulah’s mother, Ami, is fixated on her and Kath’s brother Kenny, who is in prison for most of the girls’ childhoods. She eagerly awaits his return, as even from behind prison bars, Kenny wields an ominous influence in their small town.

For the most part, Lola and Tallulah’s childhoods remain relatively quiet until the day Lola bites a bully in order to protect Tallulah from an imminent physical assault. However, when Kath and the mother of the bully meet, it is the latter who proffers apologies and forgiveness over her daughter’s bullying towards “Kenny’s princesses”. Kath is deeply unhappy, unleashing her anger at Lola, which leads to the incident that causes her to discover the true nature of herself.

Upon being ambushed by Kenny’s release from prison, Lola finds herself re-evaluating her mother’s motives and behaviour towards her as she grows to learn more about her uncle and the circumstances of his incarceration. Unable to stop the chain of events that  would irrevocably alter the course of her life, she is forced to reconnect with the other side of herself under dire circumstances.

An elegantly blended genre of horror and slice of life, Fabulous Beasts succeeds in gripping, and keeping, the reader’s attention. The author has crafted a strange, thrilling, if highly disturbing, atmosphere as each twist reveals more of an established character’s motivations and darkness. Lola’s story may be fiction, but her circumstances may all too well exist in the real world.