TANIA DE ROZARIO


Tania De Rozario is both an artist and writer who has exhibited
widely and curated exhibitions in Singapore, Amsterdam and San
Francisco. Her poetry and prose can be found on the Quarterly
Literary Review Singapore
, the Santa Fe Writers Project, Walnut
Literary Review
and GASPP: A Gay Anthology of Singapore Poetry
& Prose
. She contributes regularly to the art section of TimeOut
Singapore
and when she is not painting, penning or leaving passive
aggressive one-liners on Twitter, Tania teaches Contemporary
Contextual Studies part-time at LASALLE College of the Arts.






"What Type Do You Like?"

Deciding

always gets me confused. I've never been into
designer labels : Butch, femme, andro, dyke,
crew cuts, china dolls, jeans that fit to different

degrees

of gender. Top and bottom, who pays for what
where, who says what when , who pulls out
chairs, wears the pants. Are we so short of

pants

that only one of us can wear them? Strange
to be framed through boxes of words when
our eyes speak volumes more than we are able to

hide

from each other. What "type" do I like? : I like
the tradition of Times New Roman, slender
capitals of her body like pillars found in the

hearts

of Greece ; am drawn to the curves of
Helvetica, smiling and friendly, flesh round
like the moon, disguising the edges of her

voice

with laughter. Courier because she believes
in Bohemia. Blackletter because she's hard
to discern. Throw in some Wingdings for the

purpose

of obscure conversation. There is no "type"
that fits the drop-down menu of the things
I desire : A lover who draws lipstick hearts

beneath

the creases of her shirt. Who hikes up her
skirts to get to the third step of the ladder
in one go. Whose presence breaks

boundaries,

routine and the ice. Whose heart
reveals like a mirror full-length and
full-breadth, reflects the way the

light

does off the water, conceals thinly
that crevice cut out by rivers,
that ravine of what it means to be

human.

What type is that? Put that into the
hollow cardboard of a flimsy box
of text, and then tell me where you

fit.








The Walk Back

Sitting at the airport, half past one
in the morning; people sleeping away
stopovers, bodies strewn across chairs
like forgotten luggage: I am alone,
a terminal one at Terminal One,
my bad puns lost on the empty seat

beside me. You were tossing and turning
the night you stayed, insomnia drenching
sheets bought together seven years
before, too big then, for mattress and frame
because a single bed was all we could
afford: No longer lovers, nor persuaded

by spatial restraints into each other's arms,
we sleep intertwined anyway; the body
remembering what the mind forgets
about love: What the heart cannot help
but put away, put off, put to sleep
to move on: I will only go home

once your plane has flown off; cry
only once the distance between us
expands into miles, brave the walk
back past the hall that spells departure
in four different languages, none of which
I can articulate, nor will ever understand.








Packing Days

The studio has been overturned. Paintings
back furniture for support. Brushes and books
discuss their future over minimal leg-room
and empty cartons : Who will go where?
When packing, we will wear rolls of tape
like bangles. We will sing gypsy tunes.

What cannot be left behind? : Your clothes,
your money, your ticket, your heart, a book
to read while some mechanical monster
eats you up and spits you out on foreign soil
I've only seen in postcards. I should colour
you in, next to windmills, smelling tulips
in a place where the sun will always shine.

And when everything's anonymous
behind cardboard boxes, filling room
we will no longer share, the bed will expand
to twice its size, our shoes will no longer
kiss on their rack, the walls won't eavesdrop
on arguments, apologies, laughter, sex,
excuses and admissions of love. Quiet
will prosper, growing pregnant with days
packed one unspoken word after another.








Walking Distance

Above : Newly weds who tie their dog up
for hours on end. I can hear it crying
day in and out just above my kitchen
as I do my dishes religiously.
Across : A woman beats her child
to tears because she pulls a face
upon being delivered like a weekly digest
to lessons in piano / ballet / drawing / French / abacus / speech
and drama : Tick where appropriate,
like you do with ethnicity and choice of schools
(all newly-built, well-ranked, value-added
and walking distance from the MRT).

I can hear the man who comes back from work
at 6.33, demanding his tea be hot by the time
he comes out of the shower. I hear the kettle
blow its temper ten minutes later as I fill up surveys
for companies who pay me fifty a piece
because they think I'm creative and articulate.
Across the street : Large vinyl signboards
prostituting brand new condominiums,
all devoid of inhabitants and less importantly,
soul, looking for people who are looking to better
their standards of existing, dying, and procreating
within walking distance of the MRT.

Downstairs: Cats grown crafty from rumours
of culling, patrol corners sneaking glances
at the man who rants to an invisible audience
about the government, the price of housing
and a time when bus-rides were practically free.
Upstairs: A writer grows desperate with rage
pondering the years she's minced her language
into verbs and nouns all mispronounced
and strung into sentences without conjunctions
simply to facilitate the buying of rice
in stores all small and family-owned
all walking distance from the MRT.



Back to Front.