II | Golden City​

I rub my eyes and stare at the donkey again.

There’s no mistake.
It really has wings.

And it just spoke to me.

The rowan leaves aren’t orange anymore.
They’re bright green.

The tree’s whispering is clear now.


‘Shall we go?’
the donkey says.

I feel the funniest sensation ever come over me.

(This must be a dream.)

‘Do you have a name?’
I ask.

‘My name is Nya-Nya.’

I laugh for a long time.
(This is definitely a dream.)

The donkey tilts its head,
black eyes gleaming like pearls.
Not getting the joke.

‘Let’s get moving.’

It turns and descends the natural mountain path.

I don’t follow.

After some time,
it realises and turns to stare.

I stare back.

It brayed, stamping powerful hooves.


‘Alright alright, Eeyore. I’m coming.’
I pretend to be brave.

Don’t lose your tail.

‘My name is Nya-Nya.’
I’m not saying that.

I don’t remember ever calling anything something as stupid as


How i dreamt up such a stupid name

is beyond me.

I sigh.

It’s not my fault

that the sound echoed

through the mountains
down to the golden city below.


the road into the city is paved with gold.

I knock the gold bricks
with my knuckles.

‘Is this real?’

Eeyore waits for me
as i try to scratch off the golden layer.

There is more gold


How is this possible?

The city gate looms over us (unguarded),
an intricate work of art

—more like sculptures melted together

than an ordinary gate.

The main bulk of the gate is a lion sculpture
(in various shades of gold
(tiny coloured jewels in its mane—like rain)

touching noses with a lamb

(in various shades of white
(calligraphic words running over its body).

When people approach the gate
          the lion and lamb
back away from each other,

like automatic doors,
letting them through.

‘What the hell?’

The words come out without me thinking.

I glance at the donkey

but it
walks ahead,

to what I said.

I feel stupid
for suddenly being conscious about my speech.

It’s my dream.

I’ll curse all I want.

Nothing here is real.

I am looking only at the gate

so I don’t realise

at first
that everybody is wearing

weird clothes.

It’s not slutty or really ugly exactly….

It’s just strange.

How to explain?

Like pieces of art are walking around.

Like they’re all
going to a costume party.

We enter the city.

‘How rich are these people?’

Every building has
architectural designs

built out of more gold
than there can possibly be

in this entire world.

(And in shades of gold I never knew existed before.)

Living here must be ridiculously expensive.

The donkey unfolds its wings a little.
(Is that a shrug?)

‘There is more gold here than water.’

It heard my thoughts and spoke.

The donkey looks right into my eyes.

‘There’s no need for money here.
‘everyone is rich.’

Well, that doesn’t make any sense.

Looking at the crowds of people

wandering around, I realise
there’s more
that doesn’t make any sense.

Everyone is different

(some short, some tall)
(some big, some small)

but they all look like they might be

the same age,

as if old and young

doesn’t exist anymore.

It’s also difficult
to tell

who’s male and who’s female.

But it’s not that
they’re androgynous.

How to explain ah…

‘Aeh, Eeyore. Wait!’

The donkey suddenly spreads its wings and flies
over the crowd.

I hurry along the solid gold pavement

after it.

‘Oi! Eeyore!’

I chase after
the (stupid) flying donkey.

It disappears behind a tall gold building
with plants and fruits clinging to its exterior walls.

A fantasy hydroponic farm?

‘You’re an ass!’

I storm up to the donkey,
hokkien curses at the ready.

It’s talking to someone:

The girl I randomly kissed.

Long black hair frames her face,
covered most of it.

She’s still wearing that
not-our-uniform red skirt.

The only clothes I recognise here.

There’s a thick book clutched to her chest.

I bet $1K it’s the Bible
from before.

‘I’ve been looking for you,’
she says.

‘What are you doing in my dream?’

She brushes hair out of her eyes
and stares at me

with expressionless coal eyes.

‘This is not your dream.

‘You accidentally stepped through the rowan tree

‘into eternity.’

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