28 June 2005

Chagall, Lovers in the Moonlight.



            Palmistry

            So take my hand and hold it,
            bend it gently to the light.

            Discover me, in a way that
            I do not know myself.

            Say what you will, about my
            health, fame and fortunes,

            but know that I will put a
            finger to your gentle lips,

            if on love, you try to speak
            of things I shouldn't know,

            like where you’re going to
            and how I'll stay behind,

            how our separate ways are
            written in these lines.
posted by Gilbert at Tuesday, June 28, 2005 5 comments

27 June 2005


          The Couple Next Door

          Sometimes at night I hear them fight. I think
          it’s over money. Usually he’s drunk. He always wins.
          Hits her with something heavy - I can’t tell what.
          She cries awhile, then falls silent. A door slams.
          This happens about once or twice a week.

          I listen intently to all their fights. I blast my radio.
          He will hear me. And know that I can hear him too.
          My small intrusions. My vague useless gestures.
          My rock music turning violent, bearing futile witness,
          battering doors at midnight demanding entry.

          What does she do, after he falls asleep?
          Perhaps she lies beside him, counting the reasons
          not to leave. This time not so bad, no need to see doctor.
          Maybe, I cannot go, we are already married.
          Or worse – He won’t do it again. I know he won’t do it again.

          Sometimes in the mornings, on the way to work, I see her
          in the common corridor. She must know that I know.
          Her eyes avoid mine. I let the walls stand.
          I am the stranger who sees and hears nothing.
          I think we may both prefer it that way.
posted by Gilbert at Monday, June 27, 2005 2 comments

06 June 2005

All The World's A Stage ...

...... and two of my poems are about to do some acting. Here's a nice email I just received:
Dear Mr Gilbert Koh,

STAGES is proud to have been invited to present a performance of dramatized poetry entitled "Poetic Licence" for the SHINE Youth Festival organised by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports. The festival is supported by the National Youth Council. The performance is aimed at introducing young audiences to the richness of poetry and its power as a mode of expression - through the use of drama.

The production features an ensemble cast of 8 experienced actors performing over 40 poems by Singaporean writers, and we would like to request permission to use your following poem(s) for the show :

1.National Day Parade
2. Chiang's Heatstroke

For your information, the production is directed by Jonathan Lim and the cast are Alex Ng, Audrey Luo, Candice De Rozario, Pierre Goh, Terence Tan, Tan Shou Chen, Judy Ngo and Melissa Lee. Poetic Licence runs from 29th June 2005 till 6th July 2005 in the Hall at the Singapore Arts Museum.

We hope you will agree to let us perform your poems and share them with our audience. You will of course be credited in the programme materials, and the poem titles will also be reflected therein. In gratitude, we would like to present you with 2 pairs of complimentary tickets for the event (date of your choice, excepting 2nd July 2005).
This is actually the second time these two poems are going to be used in a drama performance. The first time was during the National Arts Festival, a few years ago. Back then, I gave permission for the poems to be used but I didn't attend the performance. This time I wanna go!

National Day Parade is a mildly subversive poem which I will probably post on the Reader's Eye sometime closer to National Day (9th August). Chiang's Heatstroke is an army poem set in the context of a training exercise on Pulau Tekong. I'll probably post Chiang's Heatstroke next week.

Both poems were previously published in a literary anthology entitled From Boys to Men - A Literary Anthology of National Service in Singapore, which is probably where STAGES came across them. Click here for an old review of From Boys to Men. The reviewer also had a couple of nice things to say about Chiang's Heatstroke.
posted by Gilbert at Monday, June 06, 2005 8 comments