Featured Poet: Tammy Ho Lai-Ming

2012/10/27 § Leave a comment

On the themes of milk, this whole time, and how we fall out of love

TO ANOTHER SWEETHEART WHO CURRENTLY LIVES IN AMERICA WHERE I CANNOT RIDE MY LONDON BIKE TO

Instead, I will write in jumbo-sized
hot air balloons of emails
gliding towards you

Or
one hundred folded
crane-like planes
flying headless your way

some of which land
nowhere, while the rest
get caught by eagles.

SIXTEENTH-CENTURY GADFLIES

You wrote to me yesterday
that you had sex
with a buxomly woman
ravenous for
sweet spicy pear slices.

My little head wondered
for a long while.
Did you not ‘make love’ first,
like in Shakespeare, Addison and Stern?
I hope you made love first.

And if you did
I hope you had

very, very, very, very,
very, very, very,
very, very,
very,

melancholy
orgasms.

NASTY GIRL

i.
When walking past a fat man
in a T-shirt that says
‘Treat yourself and take me home’,
she whispers no, and then, no.

ii.
Completely by chance,
she finds herself in
the Honda showroom.
She pops every red balloon
attached to every car.
Then she grins with the
brand new tyres.

iii.
Standing next to a busker
playing “Streets of London”, she says
to him: If I really want music,
I sing.

FORSAKEN DAYS

Finally, I ask him to make eye contact with me
from behind his glasses.
I know from a Victorian play
that the yellow lady of London will be wild.

I say to him: Let’s open up to silhouettes
tonight. Let’s feed champagne to the
line breaks. Let’s draw small moons
into smaller worlds. We can crack them
into a yes, no? – if yes, purr yes yes

He says: How the gutter doth shine so?
I don’t want to run into a bigger circle
to ride my luck or crane any longer.
What good is a fedora if there is none?

We leave them all out: the miles
and the sons. The zeitgeist just barrels in.
The leaves are louder now,
now quieter, now gone.

Together, we write abstract notes
about me, your tight-lipped lover –
tired, mired, very animal.

THAT WINTER

At the beginning there were eight buttons, each coated with glossy black veneer, on your sweater. Then there were seven, five, three, four, two. At the end of the season we did not know what happened to that cardigan. Perhaps it was left on the Bakerloo line. Or it was carried away in the wind when we buried a pair of old shoes like in that painting in the Moors. I should add that it was a sweater we picked up by a river during a canoe trip between Jasper and Hinton in the Rocky Mountains.

We sold small gold coins, mementos from the parents’ generation. Little coins stamped with austere men’s heads. So we could buy each other Christmas presents. I wanted a super-soft armchair that could harm one’s back. You wanted a silk parachute and a hoover. I said, ‘Forget about the parachute.’

There was enough for us to go to the theatre but at the intervals we were always empty-handed, watching others scoop, so very genteelly with their fat or creased or gloved fingers, ice-cream. I don’t remember everything you said that Winter but I remember this: one night, how little I knew, when all was still, you walked out of the bedroom and slammed the kitchen door closed. Coming back, you said, ‘I could hear the tap drip. Drip drip.’ Drip.

FROM GREENWICH TO THE MAUGHAN LIBRARY AND BACK

The Canon Street Station’s renovation
is complete and it looks hideous.
Red, green, blue lights
flash and flash.

All fallen leaves
on the pavements
have but one shape:
Yellow.

The photocopying room
in the Maughan Library is bonfire hot.
I want to take off
every item of clothing,
including the mechanical pencil
I wear in the hair
to make a small bun.

I am writing this on the back
of a letter the poet Koon Woon
of the Chrysanthemum
sent me last week.

I think he won’t mind.
Wherever he may see
this poem he’ll think:
Communion.

Five o’clock in the afternoon
and day is night.

Soon I will be walking on that street
with the smell of British beer and cat piss.
Soon I will be on a train home
hearing the newspapers
open and close and open again.

Author Biography

Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong poet and editor. She edits Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and Fleeting Magazine. Her website is http://sighming.com/

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