YEOW KAI CHAI
Yeow Kai Chai is the author of two poetry collections, Pretend
I'm Not Here (2006) and Secret Manta (2001). He is readying his
third book, One To The Dark Tower Comes, for publication soon.
31 Resuscitatn Rm
discreetly draws a round,
bed / of roses: one turns septic...
outside cheek remains
wets, unsuspecting morning... metastasizes
into w)here only sound
betwn you sleepyhead & me
is except latrine
)here microbes have eaten
a way core a round a very / delicate
t)issue a sorry jaw / a jar /
a breast of / other can't /
talk no more
by turn blue then final pass...
all that chittering up
these trees... but what of / bird,
& what of his (laughter) remains
/ it's not you / it's / / before cut /
ting / himself / out /
of you / out mirror / out
front / / steps / bckwds / qck / purposeful /
brows gone /
black / / im back / no longer /
hunched / over years / will not give way/
will not /
ears white / eyes whiter than / gleam /
not with baleful moon / but with undimmable /
stars remembered / fr /
Take a sunny afternoon. Take a sedan car.
A family of four driving through
"Getting there is half the fun," says Father.
Mother smiles a wan resignation.
A hand flinches like a crab at another alabaster.
Two teenagers sulk like teenagers should.
Wind in its ludic, mellifluous register.
Birds trill their singsong responsibilities.
Every strand, undone, in its airborne place
Then some game
dash in front -
Secret getaways have to wait for now.
As with eventually, they vanish,
Skid marks over tarmac.
Oil trails beyond point of attention.
Into rusticity, a kind of folklore. Lilywhite
expressions etched into eternity...
Itch stays right there, like a table toppled.
The Movie Starring The Return Of The Father
The way Father hobbles back into the street, unannounced, is the most humbling thing he has ever seen. Head swathed in white bandage and right leg chopped off at the knee, the amputee limps towards the unmoved (unmoving?) camera as if he has, after a century, finally located the elusive white rose in there. Scarpering like headless chickens - which of them had flown the coop and rattled the snakes? - the town's residents switchback to a litany of chores pretending not to see the leper (except for the rosy-cheeked boy who stares rudely with sticky apple strudel still crumbling in his mouth), backs staunchly facing him. Bullies and bullfrogs cease croaking in the soldering glare. Our man steps over prickly touch-me-nots, nine inch nails and smouldering coal, past the camera, towards an indeterminate point; past the temple, the abattoir, the cherry orchard and into the wilderness where lupine-sounding creatures are heard rustling through the undergrowth, waiting for a leg or two. He does not speak. He's smiling that enigmatic smile. Mother, does he know something we don't (want to)? Limbs flailing and eyes twitching like micro pin balls, the pariah is a heartbreaking tone poem performed on uneven cobblestones as the slatternly good whore - the only other witness - watches coolly from her front door, vanilla ice cream running down her thighs and fat flies buzzing around with disaffection. Rest of the days? They adopt the lineaments of virtue: banjo players strum their decorous instruments, barristers fold, unfold their habits and cartons of apples and milk bottles dutifully arrive at the doorstep. Self-contained and satisfied with its vestment and liturgy, the town is overdue for a delicate discission; a snow globe overripe for a royal shake-up. Still, brothers and sisters, why do people crack up at the saddest parts?
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