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for you, my Jeffrey Philip Tang.


‘how could you leave me with such a long way to go’, 2024,

installation, poetry & performance

exhibited at ‘MISHMASH',

Fine Art Exhibition,

Blindside Gallery, Melbourne

audio from the performance
00:00 / 06:43
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it was not an ordinary day

i woke up from a dream i couldn’t remember

it’s rare for me

i usually remember my dreams better than my reality


the pillow was moist and slightly salty

i guess it has now become the breeding ground for a new kind of reality

that i was given

to feel

i wonder what flowers will bloom from it


the thing about death

is that it makes you grow up

if the definition of growing up

is realising the reality

and not being able to get distracted from it


i remember the day when i received a video call from you

i’ve been expecting it for days at that point cause

you haven’t been replaying to my messages and calls

which is odd

you usually pick up my calls like reflexes

that day i picked up with excitement

and yelled ‘jeff!’, as i always do

but instead of you replying, ‘hey neryhs’

it was your father on the other side of you call


i didn’t understand what was happening

even thinking it was some kind of joke

i asked where you are

you father paused and said,

‘jeff’s no longer with us anymore.’

which i did not understand

 or my brain just simply refused to

and so, i asked again

‘what do you mean?’

then your father said, ‘jeff’s passed away’


right in the split second when the word “no…”

fell out from my mouth

i felt it

something in me, shattered


11 months have passed by

and i am still failing to understand what it is

that is shattered

or where it is in me


but i am sure there is something broken

cuz why else would tears keep leaking from me

and i have absolutely no control over it

i can only let it attack and drown me

over and over and over and over and over and over


i’ve been getting better at handling everything else

but this

this pain is always new

everytime i feel it like it’s the first time again



the only time in 7 years that you ever hurt me

you hurt me like this
you, being the talented artist you are

i almost want to give you the credits for the creativity

and the dedication


maybe this is my punishment

for not being able to recognize love

in time


in my defence

i did not grow up with love like this

it was not the love i was familiar with


your love was patient

it was so warm

i was never asked to change

not a bit

or to smile when i need to tear up

or to be a more thoughtful person

when i have thoughts that no one cared for

it was a hug,

that was just a hug

not a hug for apologizing after hurting each other

it was a cure without side effects

it was home


i didn’t know love like this exists before you

it was beyond my imagination

after all

human can only imagine so much

as imagination still stems from knowledge


loving you is the easiest thing

too easy that it made it too difficult to recognize

it took me way too long

and way too much to know our love


maybe your death is my punishment

for being so foolish

because why else would you leave me with such a long way to go

without you


but i think i deserve this pain

i think i deserve this pain


no one can ever give me an answer with certainty

about the why

why it happened


but i guess the why doesn’t matter anymore

when now

there is a soul i love

waiting for me at my death


now i understand that living and dying

are two sides of the same coin standing

and we are on its edge

in between

going forward

going on a wheel that circles

until it falls


and i can run or dance or jump or crawl

or i can stop

feel the balance

i can sleep on it

i can cry on it

i am living on it

dying on it


i never expected this much freedom

with pain like this

but i guess

that’s just how it is

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