Iris

       Nothing taken seriously
       and seriously taken. Tender
       iris, the moon makes no enemies.
       Walls link arms for each other.
       Inside an asylum, one might
       still be sane and listening.
       You’re my second sight
       through which I’m shimmering.
       Time grinds hard but time
       doesn’t keep score.
       Wakefulness is a bed: let’s recline
       before it’s over. I’m yours.


Rally

       How many at Italy’s anti-gay rally
       must also hate ISIS, thus missing
       the boat of irony completely.
       (Look: Muslims and Christians getting
       along, at last, or just briefly.)
       This reminder that after dispersing
       the hatred, a love like ours sits calmly
       at the bloodied centre. Avoiding
       the insanely religious, the religiously
       insane, those incapable of drawing
       away the veils of time and certainty—
       is also learning the art of being
       alone, on our pathless road to clarity.


Glory

       I confessed to Bette Midler tearily
       in a dream that I loved the song,
       “The Glory of Love” from Beaches:
       how it took me off from having to be
       anything more than a listener in love.
       I think I cried because it wasn’t just
       for me that I was sad, but for everyone
       forgotten and alone. I woke up
       without tears because I realized
       we’re not fragments; we don’t need
       to be somebody—lover, winner—
       to be whole. I’m nobody with a name
       and lighter than air.
So easy
       for me to say this, I know,
       since I get to wake up in your arms.


Poet

       A fictionist called the poet a choo-choo train that took you along for a ride in a
       private circle of hell, if you weren’t careful. A younger poet engaged with him for
       hours on WhatsApp, frustrating herself in failing to make him see that he wasn’t
       the person he thought he was, the one most deserving of pity. He was a man of
       privilege suffering from “margin envy” (she coined this). His problems had to be
       greater than yours. He wasn’t the only one like this, unfortunately.
                 I entered the scene because I hoped to find an older poet as a mentor or
       model of Enlightenment, but came across no such person. Everyone was
       marginalised and misunderstood—a martyr in their romantic narratives of
       selfhood. “These are artists and poets I never want to be when I grow up,” I told a
       friend.
                 Writing has become my own teacher, clearing the weeds of both doubt and
       understanding so I might stand alone in the garden of nothingness like the first
       human on a brand new planet, gracefully stripped of every intention to conquer or
       be heard (except by the silence inside my skull).


Cyril Wong is a poet and fictionist in Singapore. His last book of poems was The Lover’s Inventory (Singapore: Math Paper Press, 2015).
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