Today I'm thinking about the people crossing the Mediterranean and the Bay of Bengal in battered, nothing boats. It reminds me of the fact that three of my grandparents spent weeks at sea before finally arriving on the shores of Singapore.Read More
HOW IT GOES
catch the light
tipping through the leaves
and you’ll see a quivering.
the trees leaning in,
the air quickened and holding its breath,
a sweep of white
winging over brackish pools.
Catch the light, walk into it.
The way a swimmer makes for water,
the way water takes light.
I was tagged in a 5-poems-over-5-days meme on Facebook, so I thought I would reproduce the posts here, complete with the intended line indents and breaks.
On Day #1, I pick “Huang He” from my [forthcoming] collection, AND OTHER RIVERS. Because it's one of the first poems (definitely first five, appropriate in this 5 day challenge) I wrote. I like it for how raw it sounds in my ear.
We learned about the river today.
Huang He, how it carves a long, fluid line
through the earth.
While I waited,
I practised telling you
how the river flowed past its banks
sometimes. Too many times.
How they lined it with stone
after too many got lost. Led away
by the river’s cold hands.
I would tell you how the water
whipped through man-made forts.
How villagers fed it incense, live cattle,
One each year.
Sent out in a raft of silk.
Red-veiled. Dowry slippers
at their feet. I wanted to ask,
So while you bathed,
for you to step out
smelling of something sweet,
a flower I didn’t know the name of.
I sat, listening to the tap run.
The steady tick of
drumming the floor.
Translated directly from the Arabic, “You bury me,” a declaration of one’s hope that they’ll die before another person because of how difficult it would be to live without them.
Bits and pieces from SingaporeRead More
Flannery O'Connor tweets... That, my friends, is all.
“For the time being
Are they fallen leaves?”
From "A Tale for the Time Being" by Ruth Ozeki
I'm still a little heartbroken that they didn't go for the first cover that designer Jim Tierney came up with. Red, clothbound, startling:
“— if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see, and think, and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you.” Fingertip gliding over the faded-out photo – the conservator’s touch, a touch-without-touching, a communion wafer’s space between the surface and his forefinger. “An individual heart-shock.”
-From "The Goldfinch" by Donna Tart
"A secret whisper from an alleyway." "Heart-shock" Applies to reading a really good book as well, no?
And Other Rivers, Flight, coverRead More
I started to miss Singapore even while I was there. I know I should live more in the present but I missed the trees, the various bird calls (the rambunctious sparrows, the mynahs, the odd rooster in a neighbour's backyard), the heat, the food.
It must be the time away. Being away for seven years brings everything into focus. Thorn-sharp.
The bad (crowds, the afternoon heat, the crowds) becomes unbearable.
The good (hawker food, Malay makciks, Tiong Bahru) sublime.