Sunday, August 11, 2013

Mr. Canada

Image source:

I answer the
voice –
scarcely believing
such a beautiful
creature is
greeting me;

No, I am not
a student,
I answer
dismissively,
in a daze –
CANADA
sits comfortably on
his
crimson
chest

foolish, I do not realize
what I have done
until he
leaves –

Oh!
If only I was,

vulnerable and
innocent,
young and
fresh departed from a
foreign country;

Alas, I am
returning to a
homeland
where I
don’t belong

from roots
I do not quite
understand,

lost and
disillusioned.

If we could only return
to the fresh, enthused
wide-eyed
gaze of
youth,

if only we could
escape with a
handsome
stranger at a familiar
airport
and
rediscover joy
once more

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Little Litany


Little unborn
fetus,
peeking through the
window of a
burrowed
egg:

Sympathetic arteries
trail to and
from your
thumping
body

So exposed, so
fragile: your heart is
beating; it is
a tiny
miracle –
a strange thing
to see such
inner workings
crudely
revealed

We are
injecting you with
strange
fluids,
failing to
explant
you

We have
mangled the
yolk and
you are blurred
in
the aftermath;

Upon rediscovery
you are
hovering,
heartbeats
faltering

I am so
sorry

I say, over and
over as
you fade, as your
heart
stills

Poor little
chicken embryo,
I am so
sorry;

We are discarding you into
a plastic
bucket
used for
cherry
picking some
summers
ago

I would like to
say a
prayer for your
unborn
soul

But I am not
religious, and we
are surrounded by
uncommon
melancholy

Or I am,
as the others leave and
discuss their
weekend plans

I am left,
devastated – for
what?

The sacrilege of a
stifled life,
dissected and
discarded

I am haunted,
and I am
so,
so
sorry.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

端午节

Triangles,
banana leaves
wrapped tight
around the
rice and
crunchy egg
yolk:

Drawing no initial parallels
with the
colouring books I
scribbled in as a
child
while
the teams of
rowers
plunged their oars
into the
dragon-mirrored
waters –

Ma
tells me
a poet once
drowned out of
the misery of
exile

and that villagers
filled the lake
with these
triangles
out of
sympathy –

the fish kept away
and the body was
saved;

And on this
strange-appointed
day
I ponder,
perhaps too
much of
such tales.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Shirley

R.I.P. Shirley Verrett
(May 31, 1931 – November 5, 2010)

Teetering in at
half-past-ten,
old Shirley
appears –

shopping bag draped over
one arm, pink jacket
dotted in faux
crystals:

rolling my eyes,
I grin over at
Mark at the
shelves,
stocking;

Shirley has caught
as victim some
helpless mother,
baby slung over her
front side:

she is being assaulted with
ornery small talk
interspersed
with
diva-tales –

I’m not quite sure
(half-the time)
if most of these are
true;

sometimes it all seems
so wonderful
I think she’s
senile;
or maybe lives like this
existed:

Carmen, Normas,
Ebolis; her latest
unruly
soprano –
some language I don’t
quite
understand,
standing here in my
green-and-white
grocer’s uniform

puzzled, and
perplexed.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

In anticipation

Each time
with the same foolish
fervour:
each
time
greeted with the same
indifference.

Cold stares,
absences,
empty
promises:
turned away from
leaden doors, cold.

In vain have I pleaded,
begging for a single
word, a
single glance,
a fleeting
touch;

Life has no heroes
they say:
I thought would be
above
shadows

yet I am becoming one:
day by day,
colon by semicolon;
I am resigning myself,
resigning my life to
complacency,
acknowledging my ill
fortune:
we must be masochists,
the survivors; and
the survived,
the helpless
sadists.