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Thursday Connectors: Passions And Guilt

By Farzana Hakim

Hi, all. Welcome to July’s Thursday Connectors, with me, your host, Farzana. Summer’s here in its full glory and school’s out, so most of us are busy keeping up with the kids: entertaining, feeding and nurturing them, away from the usual routines of the school terms.

Now I’m 45, and with my kids pretty much able to look after themselves, I’m rekindling my love for historical fiction as well as writing my own stories, researching and using my cultural heritage as the backdrops.

Because our theme is about our passions and guilty pleasures, I have a great line -up of interesting Connectors to share with you. Connectors who have highlighted, in diverse ways and creative forms, how our passions and guilty pleasures can make, or ultimately break, us.

Our first Connector comes from Chandrama, and is a light and fun poem about her love for poetry. Next up is Charlotte, who has also written a poem. Hers is heavier, though, and will definitely make you reflect on some of the choices we make in life. Our third Connector comes from Hongwei and is a set of contrasting views of her mornings. And our final Connector, John, tells a chilling short story, highlighting how something we once loved with all our passion can ultimately destroy us.

Some real treats!

So, let’s dig in.

Hi, Chandrama. Let’s connect:

Chicken Curry

How do you write such long poems?
My mother asks me on the phone.
“Just like you make chicken curry”, I say.
She laughs.
I know exactly what to say to make her laugh.
I also know how to confuse her, calm her down, infuriate her,
influence her.
And she simply falls for it, every. single. time.
It’s like she’s letting me enjoy
this staged little game of ‘Simon says’ so I feel important,
We’re turning into each other, you know!
Exchanging random pieces of our separate jigsaw puzzles
that surprisingly fit in the others’ vacant patch,
like it always belonged there.
Just like her, when I am upset, I will start cleaning the clean
Just like me, when she’s anxious, she’ll be brutal to her
I love how we are the same person in different settings.
There’s something so charming about this euphoria of
ordinariness we share,
glamorising it feels like de-meaning it.
I refuse to hero-zone her.
Heroes are too perfect, too animated, unreachable.
She’s the peaceful, prudent protagonist of my story,
the one I might never be able to write.
Mummy, I ask her,
‘Do you like my long poems?’ Stirring the chicken curry, she says
‘I don’t understand them, but I like to keep looking at them.’ 

© Chandrama Deshmukh, 2023

Connect with Chandrama on Twitter: @chandramawrites


Hi, Charlotte. Let’s connect:

Not What You Need

I stand here broken, dejected, alone,
I thought I’d finally found a person to call my own.
I truly put my heart on the line,
Yet now I feel a heartbreak so very hard to define.

When we first met it felt different, unique.
Yet now my soul is impossibly bleak.
I felt it all the trust, the lust, the pain,
Resounding, compounding in my head like an endless refrain.
Part of me believed we were of the same accord,
Yet I fell hopelessly, irretrievably in love with none of the reward.

If only my body were more agile,
Perhaps you would have been more inclined to hold me a while.
If only my body had been created stronger,
Perhaps you would tell me a problem and feel sad no longer.

I hate how my CP gets in the way
Of many an activity both night and day
Going from nightclub A to nightclub B
Is something of an obstacle course when you are with me

I sometimes wonder when friends show care
If they would really rather, I wasn’t there
This all-consuming irritation
Is emblematic of the instant gratification generation.
Where we seek pleasure in the quickest time
Anyone who hinders this is out of line.

I hate how long simple tasks take
Fun evenings out can seem something of a ball ache.
I wonder if I’m the blunder, stopping people having fun
Like that one rainy grey cloud eclipsing the sun.

I also muse if I’m a massive interference to those that raised me – aka my parents
Yet they’ve never outwardly berated or complained
Doing their best to ensure the happiest of homes is maintained.
Yet I’m sure I’ve caused them much strife
By the restrictions I have placed on their life.

I’ve always hated my disability and how it makes me stand out
Yet, you saw the person beyond the chair, what I was truly about
You boldly stepped up, were a true friend, did not treat me like a flower.
And it’s because of this that I so desperately wish
Our hilarious excursions, our vulnerable heart to hearts
Lasted forever not mere hours.

Personable, passionate, hilarious, arty
Gentle yet fun-loving the life of the party.
I did dream of you at night in bed
It’s hard to believe you’re not some fairy tale prince I’ve made up in my head.

I often question how it has not unfurled
That everyone does not adore you along with the Hemsworth’s,
Elba’s and Effron’s of the world.
Nevertheless, you have a girl on your arm
And I remain in a sorrowful balm.

I’ve never met the girl who won your heart
She’s probably just like you; attractive, astute, resolute
in being kind to others and into art.
She’s probably someone I’d love to befriend
even though I love you too this isn’t like some romcom where
the beautiful girl with an ugly heart is exposed by movies end.

I tried to suppress my feelings at first, I thought it wasn’t worth believing,
and yet I soon realized that I couldn’t not be in love
any more than one can stop breathing.
What I was feeling was childlike fodder, the stuff of fairy tales from long ago,
nonsensical word vomit, sweaty palms, but then loves raw and unyielding
confusion hit me like a blow.

I was definitely in love wished we could be like ties that bind
Sometimes you nearly drive me out of my mind.
What I wouldn’t give to have you hold me in your arms
To have you really look at me and have it resonate that you have zero qualms
About my body and me exactly as they are.

To have you hold me, talk with me, love me, caress me and adore me
Until we see the morning’s first star.
But you clearly don’t view me that way
It makes my heart feel deathly cold
Why won’t you love the way I want
Be courageous in your feelings, be bold
Why is it taking everything I have not to kiss you?
If you thought the same this would not be an issue.
Yet you still see me as just a dear friend.
Sometimes these feelings get so messy
The noise is so loud I struggle to comprehend.

Life as it is all I want is you,
Yet even if it only took a fraction of time
to carry out my most desired actions,
It would devastate your girlfriend too.
I’m not a home wrecker can’t let three lives implode
So, though this is the hardest thing my heart can bear.
We have to say to goodbye forever
Go down our separate roads.

It’s clear your lover is good
She has the best intentions at heart
And I need to learn to love my body and self so much more
Quieten negative voices and make a fresh start.
Just because we didn’t pan out
Does not mean I wouldn’t be a perfect match
For one of the 7 billion people in the world
The right guy will realize that I am quite the catch
And I will be able to hold him up too
Just as she is a confident cheerleader, supporter to you
I hope to God, she never deliberately hurts you, takes you for granted
Endlessly appreciates, celebrates the astonishing gift of the man
she has been handed.
So now as I stand here forever changed by you
Internally my heart continues to bleed
I try not to cry but whisper “good bye”
I’m sorry I’m not what you need.

© Charlotte Amy Faragher, 2023

You can connect with Charlotte on Facebook:  @CharlotteFaragher


Hi, Hongwei. Let’s connect:

A Nice Morning

The smell of coffee and croissants
Floats in the sunshine.
The shadow of you
Hovers at the bedside.
A kiss is all I need
To wake up from the dreams.
Who knows what dreams I’ve had
And how many times you appeared within.

© Hongwei Bao, 2023

A Bad Morning

The odour that lingers in the air,
Is it from whiskey, brandy or beer?
The cigarette ends that litter the floor,
Lie randomly like broken hearts.

The stares that you throw,
Made me shiver out of fear.
What happened last night I can’t recall,
Only that you came back drunk.

I see the bruise on my forehead,
And feel the pains on the limbs.
Is this yet another normal day in our doomed life,
Or is it a step further towards our mutual destruction?

© Hongwei Bao, 2023

You can connect with Hongwei on Twitter: @patrickBao1


Hi, John. Let’s connect:

The Lost Voice

There was so much screaming last night. Far more than usual. It was really difficult to get to sleep. I wished I had the same cloth ears as Little Ted, who was lying next to me.

It all started after Dad came through the front door, slamming it. Mum’s words were so loud and screechy, it was impossible to work out what she was saying. Dad was also shouting. He definitely said, “Shut up, woman.” I remember those words, because I thought it was strange how he called Mum a woman. Anyway, the pillow over my head must have worked, as I don’t remember much else after that.

This morning, I went into their bedroom. I could tell straight away something really bad had happened. There were clothes, bags and boxes scattered all over the carpet. Even messier than my room has ever been. Mum was still in bed, just lying there, staring at the hanging light. Her eyes were puffy red, as if someone had thrown pepper into them. She turned towards me and smiled. I took that as an invitation to climb in with her. There was plenty of room today. Dad wasn’t there. She pulled me close, cuddled me tightly, but she didn’t feel as warm as usual. Mum kissed my hair and tried to say something, but it didn’t sound like her. It sounded as if she was chewing meat.

“I’ve lost my voice.”

That’s what I believed she was saying.

“You’ve lost your voice?”

Mum nodded.

I unwrapped myself from her arms, jumped out of bed and started moving all the stuff that was littering the floor. Mum likes it when I’m being daft.

“Where are you, Mrs Loud Voice? I’m coming for you.”

I looked through a pile of Mum’s clothes and inside a few boxes. There were plenty of fancy shoes, but it wasn’t there. It wasn’t under the bed, or on the bedside table next to her pink tablets. I noticed a big dusty gap in the wardrobe, where the suitcases were usually stored. But it wasn’t there either. Mum’s voice must be somewhere.

She’s always telling me that something is never lost, you just can’t see it.

I climbed back into bed, snuggled up and liked the way Mum started to gently rub my back. Her hand was going round and round in circles, as if she was trying to help me think about where her voice had hidden itself.

Suddenly, it struck me. I sat up in bed, looked at my mum’s swollen eyes and told her I knew where her lost voice was.

“I think Dad took your voice away,” I declared.

She nodded and croaked, “You’re right. You’re so damn right. He silenced me.”

Well, I think that’s what she said.

© John Holmes, 2023


Fantastic Connectors and fantastic creativity. Next time, I’m after your thoughts on how your literary passions and favourite authors have or are changing as you’re getting older. So, send your work my way.

Have a super holiday!


Issue 17 of Write On! is out now and you can read it online here. Find it in libraries and other outlets. You can find previous editions of our magazines here.

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Our passions and guilty pleasures can make, or ultimately break, us.