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have a seat, that therapist-recliner chaise longue delivers the incognito, my bedroom
1930s chinatown bordello; the rest of this foyer a warren of rooms hastily decorated
with whatever was available; you enter and face ill-lit swaths of what pretends to be;

damask and brocade draped, three auburn love nests; we’ll cruise the am I all right?
the tell me I’m going to be fine, a honeyed sappy nonetheless; I never want the return
to still life, that tapa cloth road reflected in the large and how it trickles and lets me go;

soutine never planted roadblocks; if he did, he’d scissor his canvas into sandwich islands
and leave the rest hanging as blinds on dormer windows; I never want sanctity returns;
to the south, those sandwich islands, stacked francs, unassisted postmaster and scientist

tending to moth orchids and talking to the earless seals, so no more model communities
and no chimneys need let out the old fire, backdraft anger; am I yet another reverence?
are we just now refurbishing, nostalgia calming the senses? homestead hearts bundled

twine minds together a boiler coil; where’re the happy hours, free pints, bengali wicker?
their in-house eartha kitt, forgivable coolio, the pianist leaving paignton for pickering?
we swim out to the ships unmarked, taboo forgotten; what the mainland cold showers

we leave out at the next stop; no compunctions, lie down like so again, elbow behind
my head; we’ll eat with our hands, pork and plantains out of calabash; those attap huts
waft in and out of dirt lanes like lovers and how we house them in banana-leaf books;

in feelings on hold, our trundle bed flanks the foyer, another departure; our barstools
are our only tables, this dingy backroom our next page; how can anyone not love this?
the risks, the restless, drying out hues? have a seat, this our bloodstone equanimity

plastered walls, tattered glow; those unfamiliar guests will choke this riverbank into silt
kind of refuge you want no more to do with, to run from, this loft in a halfway house
of green on green, as you draw the difference, four vector fields, tensor field scaling


Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. A recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant and Dr Hiew Siew Nam Academic Award, he has work forthcoming in Blackbird, Copper Nickel, Ganymede, Pank, Pindeldyboz, and The Writing Disorder. Also working in clay, Desmond sculpts commemorative ceramic pieces for his Potter Poetics Collection, these works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

© 2010, Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

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