GILBERT KOH


A poet based in Singapore, publication credits include Atlanta Review,
Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and Slope. In Singapore, his work
has appeared in Love Gathers All, No Other City and From Boys to Men.






Changi International Airport

It is a huge clean box
with clear glass panels,

directions for its visitors
and tidy compartments

to contain the swellings
of a little nationís pride.

How much can one love
an efficient process?

We are here only because
we are going elsewhere

we are pleased that
our luggage rarely gets lost

we like the purple orchids
and marine fish

and we would stay to watch
the whole world here,

if it was not always
merely passing though.






The Bureaucracy

We are a cold hard part
of a necessary process,

repeating through the
years repeating.

Our names are soon forgotten,
our faces do not endure,

and as we pass on and on,
failing like a memory,

only our most tenacious
errors will survive,

take root, cling to life
like slow, steady infections

entrenched in the rigid bodies
of our harsh institutions,

repeating through the
years repeating.






In Our Schools

Some are Special,
or Express. A few are
Gifted. The others
are merely Normal
(a polite lie).

All are classifiable,
like chemical compounds,
lists of Chinese
proverbs,
or lab specimens of
dead insects -

preserved, labelled,
pinned by a cold
needle
through the
unfeeling thorax.






Hong Lim Park

a fat man stands
announces an opinion
as if it mattered

in the hot sun
the trees yawn and
almost sigh

the retirees wish
they had their
park back



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