WINIFRED WONG


Winifred Wong is a writer based in Singapore. Her poems examine experiences in
her personal life, with a focus on interpersonal and familial relationships, inequality,
environmentalism, and rites of passage of a twenty-something year old. She has
previously written as a journalist in Yahoo! and music journalist for Esplanade.






just ignore

they lie in various positions
none are dignified

i consider giving this one
all the money I have for this trip
but why this one
not that one
prostrate
or these cupped hands
or augment
those jingling coins

or perhaps this blind man
shuffling up a tight
night market lane
speaker around his neck
blasting accompanying music
microphone dangling
a swell of people inching behind him
frowning
but has anyone asked him
if blindness is convenient

or the kacang puteh man mid-dinner
selling something you're too full to have
and upon being rejected goes down on his knees
just one last time

or the one dollar tissue lady
prices unchanging in the face of inflation
ever smaller margins for the marginalised






best life

a cleaner in the industrial canteen
near where i work
wears an egyptian blue shirt
with the words
best life
'cross his back

head bowed
he stacks our plates
youth seeping out
every sweaty forearm pore

wait
he tilts

it says best cafe






pillion

we are highway surfing
on hiccuping lines
between more-seaters
housing people delineated—
a "smooth ride" they call it
but forgoing

throbbing vibrations
from a vintage bike rusty
with sweat, rain and love of 7 ex-es

doubtful narrows
but charging ahead anyway

tingling toes from air just disrupted from
minding its business

my face teased apart
by the drowning wind
palms sweating
into your leathered shoulders
inheriting your inertia

there's no knowing how fast we go
only the pressure of windpalm on
my nosepads as proxy
for our mph

just like sundials are
for our short lives






closing hour an excuse

in a waning food court
its people play
Blackjack caked
in their sweat and worksmells
waiting for closing time eleven.
beer sister in tight dress
finally her turn
to drink stout or coffee
from a beer mug
over the shoulders of frolleagues
gambling with mentos
to freshen their breath
when they really need a shower

Anyway, one for the road
when they sugar rush
for the bus home
thought of which
makes them linger
to delay escape from this
zero sum construct

i think of the moonwalking chinese
construction worker which makes me
want to capture this
like hopscotch rock
and i tell my companion
to take a shot but
he resists breaking
the magic
so we loiter around the ashes
of their already ended game
while they sit and stare
at two strangers toeing
the shoreline
of their underworld



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