2 Poems by Zhou Sivan

On Apologia

After A., there is only aberration of de-sire, codex bucolic

fingers sliding fish-deep, dialing Z gene, veteran oil blue.

We flip through my baby photos and find one of Madonna

’n Child. O the inverted double You in the face of Mother

looking at You in the mirror. All that comes at your throat

is a fractured baby blown to bits and his displaced middle

finger ready to poke your eyes out. The stunted Lacan—O,

dios mio. Which is better: to hide dolcissimo in the eye of a

hurricane, as the crowd at your wedding dinner cheers on

a sensational trial of mother-fathering shame, or to give in,

first, by flagging your reproductive organs for the Nation,

while in the privacy of your bunker, go jingo-ballistic on

your stony abdomen? If life is all-consuming, breathing

fire, then hell is the human lung with cilia prickly lined

by tiny gingerbread men who caress their tender buttons.

The relatives can gossip all they want. Woe to all mothers,

shrivelled-up women who, like Nietzsche’s Baubo, were

the only cynical ones to find the truth. Mother has never

been more alone with truth. My beloved mother-of-pearl

inlay in the motherland of thou-art-holy, I am so far away.


For the Christians, persecution is wine-dark but cork-free.

In the shadow city of Derinkuyu, the bats eavesdrop dung.

Your penis stirs, jealous of doorknobs. But the oil press girl

lays her head on a voluptuous round of heavy stone doors.

Petals dream of winter, hidden below a vertical shaft of air.

If I am not human, am I then a mossy cabinet of wonder?

My skin, buried in the dark fur of Catarrhini—who knew

a pendatang balancing a century egg on a china teaspoon

could be the poster boy with his tofu-skin of originality?

As the male seahorse pocketed his young, poked around

the burning city, he resembled Anchises eating anchovies

off his son’s back. The broken backs of those-who-seek-

but-find-none, and their children’s leaf-veins shimmering

in blood hyphens. The self divides like static after the azan.

When the root of our disagreement lies in the proper name,

solanum melongena, of which aubergine, eggplant, brinjal,

guinea squash take part in the self-same mélange of unbaked

goods, honestly, just give me a spanking fabulous moussaka.

The garden buffet of racial harmony with a nametag bores me.

In the slavish etymological rub, just christen me bruised wine.

Zhou Sivan is dreaming of a sonnet sequence. His poems have appeared under the name Nicholas Y. H. Wong.

Photo credit: Victor Wong.


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