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Houses Under Renovation [A Collection]

"Houses Under Renovation" is a pessimistic, non-linear narrative poem that portrays an unnamed protagonist's battle with a terminal illness until they succumb to their inevitable death. Parted into five chapters, the poem is a compilation of the narrator’s memories and insights during the time of their antemortem depression. The Collection addresses a plethora of social issues, from classism and racism to the prioritization of capitalistic values in the healthcare system. In addition, "Houses Under Renovation" explores the topics of careless mistreatment of mental health patients, the subsequent effect of depression on romantic relationships affected, and the communication deficit plaguing contemporary society. Narrated with a debilitated tone, the poem captures the collapse of society as we know it due to the forces of modern alienation.

I. white dog

when misfortune struck,

we were alone within four walls

with two pairs of eyes,

two pairs of hands,

and grey was the colour of love

when the downpour flooded in,

it first took the horses,

then housewives, then the radio,

at last, it took the americans

the streetlights came crashing

into their respective narrow streets

to make little fireworks

on the brim of the night hours

when we were all alone

with one cat, one dog, and an old hag,

you crouch down quietly,

and pet the ghastly white dog

you seal your eyes

from the smitten glare,

and let the nothing remain

i could see from your eyes

that love takes the colour grey

when the lover is on their way

all life was frothing at the mouth

at the hollow bones we feed on,

the earthquakes we cause,

and the livings we make

off of the hollow bones we feed on

and the earthquakes we cause

and the livings we make

it must suck to know

that we have to

die someday

II. unhealthy

i remember of a time

when our bones were still pulpy

and the world was too small that

a sore throat was

not only a sore throat

and a tumour was

not only a tumour

our collect pain was

the matter of the state

and theirs was ours

that’s what we were told,

just so that we could remain,

patients overtrusting,

patients undertrusting,

lovers overbearing,

and lovers underbearing,

but when duty struck,

we fought back.

and we fought alone.

i remember time out of time,

young men and women

standing in lines

diplomas askew in their hands,

raiding the east like

disciples out of line

young men and women repeating

“first, do no harm”

young men and women

doing harm,

clean out of line

of experience,

of the knowledge

they pledged to seek

but what is the significance

of a title doctorate,

when human lives

cost thousands of fines,

what is our reason to remain honest,

when honesty pays none

what maims us

if we choose to remain,

doctors underestimating,

doctors overestimating,

liars bystanding,

what a shame

to see them withstanding

the truth is that

money only mattered

when a life was lived unlived

or a heart ceased to decease

the truth is that when money struck

they struck back.

but it wasn't nearly enough.

so they remained,

doctors overdiagnosing,

doctors underdiagnosing,

doctors overmedicating

and doctors undermedicating

and when they talk,

they’ll tell you

that we chose to remain,

a nation


III. the waiting room

i am waiting in the line

to the american office

where the american man

will question my whereabouts

and take my shoelaces

i am with families

in litters of children

wearing yankee clothing

feeding on

the yankee candy

answering the officer’s questions

in the white man's tongue

to prove how white

they can be


i saw a hound

and a sharp tooth man

on a leash

threatening to

take my unborn baby’s


god has forsaken

the hounds

that put us

in the waiting room

i am sentencing myself

fifty years

looking into the eyes

of those with

fifty years spent

in the waiting room

IV. grey

when misfortune struck,

you spent hours

staring at the same

piece of living

that you judged

to hell and back

and crossed it

out of your life

i just can't help but

watch the rain

flood into our walls

by your side

where the colour of love

will always remain


V. the end - houses under renovation

it’s been a while,

and they’re putting

these houses

under renovation.

the houses are

breaking down

into shreds of dust

and concrete,

the air smells

of paint thinner,

and the eagle-eyed doorman

eyes the construction area

like a mighty shipman

past daylight.

the cars that pass by

make these homely noises

that remind me

of the MRI machine

that i sat in for

40 minutes

when i fell

that one time.

an MRI machine is

like your own spaceship,

it makes noises

that you don’t hear

within daylight.

the dog is barking

at 5AM.

i cross to the other side.

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