JEROME KUGAN


Jerome Kugan is a 29-year-old Malaysian writer, poet and musician. However, after
winning a scholarship to pursue Professional Writing studies at the University of Canberra,
Australia, Jerome decided to give writing a serious go. While in Australia, he discovered
sexual freedom and performance poetry. Then one thing led to another and he started to
dabble in Casio-driven punk music, falling in (and out) with a rag tag band of pseudo-
anarchic neo-Dada artists. Upon graduation in 1998, Jerome returned and wasted two years
as a sub-editor for a newspaper in Kota Kinabalu before moving to Kuala Lumpur, where
he has been based since 2001. Among his more notable failures include publishing a poetry
zine called Poetika, organising an annual Independence Day Reading with decreasing
audience attendance, getting criticised for writing scathing theatre reviews, aborting the
launch of a self-composed midi-pop CD and giving dismal singer songwriter-ish recitals.
As of 2004, he has completed two unpublished manuscripts, one of which was rejected by
a local independent publisher that deemed it 'pornographic'. As a multidisciplinary artist,
Jerome projects a devil-may-care persona prone to attacking the apathy and mediocrity
of others. However, much of this despicable attitude stems from a deep dissatisfaction with
his own poetry and music. We hope he will snap out of it one day and just learn to chill.
Some of his less disturbing poems can be found in www.qlrs.com.







The Glass

We looked, we the glass, we looked through,
we whose hardness could penetrate
even light; we saw schoolboys running
in a field of light
and falling. We held the infinite gaze
of each other's might,
contemplated what the other could surmise;
we saw the one whose body elongated,
sleeves rolling up to elbows, and we
the cigarette cloud masked, we
broke the other's languid stare and approached.
We stripped the trunks, the bark, the bite,
erased the mouth
and replaced it. All points
from that point on rescinded
as though the world were a tube and hollow.
The boy tried to focus
but saw only the glass we were.
The glass has hidden everything
but we saw everything. Even the stains on the glass.






Hallucination Camp

Damp figures enshrouded by mist,
all the way from Australia.
The white vapour of Europe
desperately clawing its way
back into the lungs of the Other.
Jack the Ripper, Invisible Man,
the blue-knuckled hands of an Aryan youth
stroking the railings of a great ship -
each one with a plan to tame the sea -
not the one that carried our ancestors,
but the one that harried your thoughts back to me.

While savage Amazonian minds fluxed in the distance,
our Oriental hermaphrodite's
new job as a powdered Butterfly
entertained the operative yearnings of
white shogun Jesuses
whose blister-addled feet found refuge
in tea-stained harbours.
But all too suddenly engulfed
by patriotic diarrhoea,
they expelled their suitors for local booties.
The cheaper, the expendable, the numerous won out.

Years later, backing into the porch of
a pre-war bungalow, he sees
his white master for the first time,
a limp-breasted
hyphenated wisp.
Who are you? he asks.
Who are you? he repeats.
Weren't you supposed to be black?
What made you wait here when you could've
waited behind the outhouse?
This is the front door, if you must know,
and, no, I don't think you can stay.
Please don't try to peer through the windows.
You must go, before my real Sherlock comes.
Please don't shame me.
Go, go, go.

And off his master disappeared, clutching tattered passport,
anxious for the Revolution to start.
He reads the little red book
to his four diseased children
deep in the great ship’s metal belly.
"The triumph of the proletariat
lies within the machinery of the system."
Imagines himself
already a cog
in the Fatherland, a virus line
that only breeds when its hosts are breeding,
sucking Che Guevarra's teats.

Those pale Freudian figures
with skin like bacon - the Master
has escaped them finally.
He fixes his eyes as the anthems rise
towards the horizon.
Who is this woman?
What's the deal with her monobrow?
Her torso beams like a propaganda poster.
I am the true cyborg, she says. (And he nods.)
I am the one who will save the world from itself. (And he nods.)
There will be no more place for the crippled,
only the enlightened shall flow from my breasts. (And he sucks.)

She leaves him white-eyed, a case of mammary OD.
She rubs her accomplishments with her Prada apron
as dark figures loom behind curtains with
love letters and pistols.
Oh you are the nude who produces myrrh
between her legs! they exclaim.
But what second-rate poets they make, these Three Wise Men.
She doesn’t even see them.

Instead, she puts on a veil and walks among the lepers
of Calcutta like Quan-Yin-as-Eva-Peron.
And the Master, he waits,
"overly fond of stratagems."
He takes a shower while listening to radio reports.
Meanwhile, back in Memphis, the wounded
have become so many mouths to feed.
But her breasts are not intimidated.
She is, after all, Theresa the Albanian:
"I do not fear your money (and he nods),
I do not fear your Internet (and he nods),
I still have the scars to prove
that I've never believed in all that (and his cock salutes)."
The hermaphrodite tsks.

Still an Auschwitz anorexic.
Still a boat people statistic
lingering on the shores
of some kangaroo continent.
(Where are you, El Nino?)
He burns another piece of paper, drops his hand
into the pool. But what a fool, the Master sighs.
You can't destroy identity like that.
You can only assume a mutated version.
You can only become a mutant
of what you desire.
He looks up at her, can't recognize the
new woman she has become.
Who are you? he asks.
Who are you? he repeats.
"I am your mother."

The Master laughs.
We remember our plantation pasts, the wet
trees cloning mosquitoes. Nights under
kerosene lamps, the stars breeding constellations
as we trace them on the tattered pages
of a mildewed book stolen from a high school library.
He masturbates while trying to pronounce
the Greek names.
He knows what's going to happen
to our children. But he recalls, my mother has blond hair.

Haven't you seen her on MTV?
Her fertile armpits sprout abrasive steel wools.
Is your name Marilyn Monroe?
Do you know the praying mantis technique?
You don't know what you're saying.
The words just come out unaided,
as if someone forgot to sat stop
and the machine inside just proceeded
to shred forests of documents and
turn all that silence into toothpicks of sound.
And now all you hear is noise.
(Pick, pick, pick, pick, pick.)
Even birds sound like tractors.

She yells and tears him off her body.
Blood chirps out of her nipples into his mouth.
His body ends up across the Atlantic
like a suspended whale slicing
through the Brooklyn Bridge cables.
While she sits in her wheelchair
in the cradle of Africa
contemplating her rebirth.
She would tell the last dark figure,
the one who would part her flappers one last time,
I met your mother again in Chinatown.
This time she looked like a lesbian
Tina Turner. ("Turn around, bright eyes.")
Mother, he called out to me.
Who are you? she asks.
I'm your heroin-addled son,
don't you remember? I came with a message
from your husband. I killed him so I could
fuck you guiltlessly. So she gave him
her diamond tiara to pawn.
The South of France
is what everyone deserves.

Viva La Revolucion!
The meek shall inherit the weak.

And you would say,
as you removed her black widow's veil
and pumped silver bullets between her ivories.
Thank you, mother.
Thank you so much.
Then she would abort you, again
and again.




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