TENG QIAN XI


Teng Qian Xi will be finishing her final year at Columbia University, where
she majors in comparative literature. She was the publicist for the recent
cinema release of Singapore GaGa, directed by Tan Pin Pin. At present
she is freelancing as a writer, publicist and translator. Her first collection
will be published later this year.






Who Subtitles Fireworks

i
She could sing many songs.
Like a river it will flow.
Can she remember.
When they came, I was performing.
I wish to be free from aches.
Surrounded by savage beasts.
There's no way you could go wrong.
With that kind of training.
Was that all right.
I have left for you behind.
A warm welcome home.
Doors closing.
If you're happy and you know it.
Concentrate on your ball.
Laugh at the same jokes.
That's something I keep telling myself.
Hello one dollar.
Why should I call your name.
You are recording this for what.
I've got to redo.
I meet many animals.
Every child has two hands.
Every day is a good day.
Just kidding.
This is the end of the news.

ii
Numbers are pure. Full. Full.
Full. One third. Half. Full.
Glass of water. Drink.
Place glass behind you.
Please eat.
Off the map you drew.
To find graves.
Notebooks. Lost vowels.
Flicker between the trees.
Can grass be tortured.
Break a spray of leaves. Not evidence.
Sometimes people leave you halfway.
Through the wood
.
Wanted to be a botanist.
Grew out of it.
A track of stones and ash.
When going to hide.
Where would we be.
Know how to get there and how to.
Evade the trail.
Get back and eat.
First.
Of bread out.
Of the forest.
Of you.

(After Singapore Gaga and Stephen Sondheim.)






Ghazal of Winter
for C

Outside the homeless ask our help in all their languages;
The words disperse like witches' ashes.

Your nights are filled with arsonists and lonely politicians,
Charred cities drowned in posters like curling skin.

What will survive of this is words and stardust.
At customs they found nothing hidden in the bronze god.

Six seeds can trap the underworld's season.
Ignorant of spring, the snowflakes kiss and pass.

Each morning brings two sets of dreams, the summoned and the lost.
Every other space I learn to halve with you

As days slide away like streetcars
Along steel networks planned by neither of us.






Night Poem
for R

The cry of bats measures
Their cave in the dark.
When I answer your voice
Hurled into corners
Someone diagnoses us as
Telescoped. I understand
The word as
Gazing at another
Planet deepening
Through glass circles held
At a necessary distance from objects
Surfacing years later
In the nights of your own world.



Back to Front.