Alvin Pang

Alvin Pang Alvin Pang (Singapore, b:1972) is a poet, writer, editor, anthologist, and translator. Named Singapore’s Young Artist of the Year for Literature in 2005, he has been translated into over fifteen languages, and has appeared in festivals and publications worldwide. He was a Fellow of the 2002 Iowa International Writing Program. His books include Tumasik: Contemporary Writing from Singapore (Autumn Hill:USA, 2005), What Gives Us Our Names (Math Paper Press, 2011), and When the Barbarians Arrive (Arc Publications: UK, 2012).



Karung Guni Daughter

She seems to have inherited my hoarding habits,
squirrels away everything bestowed: fast food toys,
birthday cards, pencil cases, pins. Turns feral
when I suggest that scraps of hastily scribbled
cat cartoons might be better off recycled. If a fly
were to expire in her tea, she’d save it in a jar
(next to the hapless grasshopper, the bee)
never mind the crumbling crayon portraits, paper art.
This is a battle I cannot win, not with my roomful
of shelves stacked with books, files, notes from 1986
propping up the crowded writing bureau: the jetsam
of a life at sea with words, salvaging from ink and page
a kind of driftwood shape, flotation. How else to keep track
of where you’ve been? As if I’m even clear what keeps
or what is worth keeping. Already the precinct trees
are being cut down. A wave of prefab hoarding
has scrubbed the next street clean of flagging skylines.
So let her cherish a little of what is less than recent.
Let her favour the crack in her favourite mug, just below
the lip, the stains and stretch-tears in her purple sark,
her bobbing buoy of uncombed hair, her deadpan voice
when she hands me an old, used envelope festooned
with faded stickers, tells me to hold it forever.




Liverpool Easter

pride can hurt you
but she won’t desert you

is the church crooning
to the gathered clutch
to the vinyl court of the king
to the red rival at the other end of hope
to the city sprawled down the slippery slope
to mercy to the humdrum wronging and the hoary wronged
to the distant air-waved wear-washed world
to the heart halved to the golden groove
to the time-freed larkening of the bells
paul     george     ringo     john

she loves you
she loves you
she loves you

                                                            Liverpool, 2013

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