Skip to content

In Passing

To write a poem I don’t just sit back

I sleep.

I throw my pen and paper like I would flung about the covers and sheets
and let the dreaming begin

it is where I will search for their traces or his scent

Where I would go back to prior days
in South Kensington or alone in Southwark or along Southbank
I would buy those nifty contraptions that circle around like mobiles for babies’ cribs.

And finally curl under the bed when it starts to snow.

Unlike when it rains in Hong Kong. Sham Shui Po, of all places.
People grip their umbrellas instead of their mobile phones. Now they lift their faces to look at wet they’re going, you can finally see them make faces and understand wet they do. Without this weather smartphoning people can be so dry.

Unlike when it drains in Singapore, both the weather and the work
as if jets of steam launch my mechanical desk to its full, unlimited capacity
never mind if the team stays at Heng Mui Keng Terrace a millisecond more until midnight.

Unlike when it hails in Manchester (in 2016 I wrote ‘London’ instead) everything halts. Even the unbearable cold that cuts through thick layers of wool, cotton, concrete, glass, and gladness. (It has been 2018.)

Next stop.

When Florence sings,
no matter if my mind hovers 33,000 feet above flat earth,
her voice will haul my lungs back to Southbank, 3:53 pm.
Nothing is never too late.

I am well awake.

Beside me you sat and mindfully flirted with your iPhone
I unsaw a photo of you, a dancer in all your naked glory, in black and white, the undulation of muscle, the pulsation of applause. As if fluttering, my mind faced elsewhere. But you looked at me earlier knowing we knew each other only to brush the thought aside.

A mistake? To assume a person changes this much?

a familiar face
perhaps a fan you have never met
seen one of your performances, early or recent
try harder, from Abelardo Hall to Cape Bojeador

Shall I remind you of your cruelty?

Never you mind. Your fingers beware better
almost meeting and mirroring mine, twirling as they write
then you handed back my pen.

Never you mind. Your eyes realise otherwise
almost weeping and merely shining, three blinks, just like that
their candid spark was gone.

Now, I fly.

KJCA