- Poetry, Reading, Writing

Five Poems, by Tse Hao Guang

        Bee Wing & John are 

	       in like & it’s a stair
           well infat 			       uation. John: 

				            Look, I found 

		      ixora, flower of giving 
  itself & still very 	
	
		                   much self. Bee Wing: 

Beauty always promises, but never gives anything.


	                      Bee Wing: steal
		       away under 

			                     the table grand
		               fathers play 
	   chess around, see

				                their knees 
					                      & know
		         giving, see their
		     feet & know	      very much
						                    self. Stair
   
wells are angular your
		     eyes are	    round
				                   & mid
	

		         night blue table 
		             w/ stark square
	
         of chess? Is both.
 

Repeated errors in the survey form are intentional


Mr. Mohamed lives           at Mandarin
			             Gardens & always 

	      is asking

     for fish, folds	   hands &
			                  twists 

				                fingers,
		     like fish, quickly

				                  & darting, like eyes—
five grand

		       children & counting, always,
			        like marbles. 
	       Once marbles		     
					                  clattered
				             on his kitchen tiles,
			      they are not

					                   metaphorical,
     the condominium, 
	          however, is——       Mr.
					              Mohamed
				           several times

	       daily cups fish

		           eye fingers &

		     has them to	 float in the sink.


			        Marbles are not metaphorical.
			        They are journalistic.
 

Considering what is more, much more grave than in the light,


   Cassandra shouts 

       on the roundabout, 	     wants the head 
      
	        lines five years from
              now: 	            this round

	         about shall be 		      same, houses

				               still houses &
		    people, frag

	 		      ments of
        mind in each
		      other’s mind, still——


               air always this
	    constant thickness

			       of green &	  the rain,
					                      predictably.


		
Cassandra shouts: THE
		     WORLD WILL
	NEVER END		             Don’t

				               believe her.

		   From now on, every
			       thing will be different.
 
 
A thousand faint sounds, 
                        breaths of wind, warmth of sun


                 could not
             imagine fullness of

				          what it was, like
		          likeness thereof

   such shaking trees & prickly grasses,
					                 the search for a
					           sudden
						               ness

	    suddenly sprawling,	

			         such opposites to the shy grass

					            curling

		              at each opportunity,	    
					                    of touch,

						                 this assertion
		      that demands “attention

   in full, what I
						                am owed”
					             & always is

				           much

	      the quivering tree

			        calmed by an inch
					                of cow grass,
 
     a hill, a mountain, stream
		          delta, isle plain——


                affection this 	   mangrove

         fish, such velvet rejoicing,	
			               that time I sobbed


	        into Irfan’s elbow & up here 
air’s no thinner—		 
			               pebbles make the flat
           difficult


      	      pebble in the pocket
	      fly in the ear
	

The leap of the wave / whiter / each hour / greener


	                      to my surprise,
		      honesty
				         is possible. Dryness

     unbearable. little hill
	    in your hand, gathering sweat——

 

Tse Hao Guang (謝皓光) is a Singaporean poet and editor. His first full-length poetry collection, Deeds of Light, was shortlisted for the 2016 Singapore Literature Prize. His work also appears in Hotel, Asian American Writers' Workshop, Entropy, Third Coast, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere. He is a 2016 fellow of the University of Iowa's International Writing Program, and the 2018 National Writer-in-Residence at Nanyang Technological University.

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