David Wong Hsien Ming
after Albert Camus
Whisper heat and light into skin and the hand will crumble into any mistake,
pull the trigger, twist the knob, punch the numbers, touch the hem.
But the Sun absolves; shakes intention off the shoulders
and returns the sinner blameless, say the Stranger and the Bible scribes,
only one of them without doubt. To determine which
I asked you to roll the die knowing it was loaded to fail, knowing you knew.
Why’d you not throw it to the floor so you could roll again?
Why not say the Sun made you do it?
Refusing the metagame, you said, and I wonder if you’d ever heard;
not playing is but another way to play.
The next person found you caught in the currents of narrative
but I’d say steeped.
I’d say we all carry the ink of post-modernity beneath the skin;
don’t you think it’s time we kink the tubes that feed sanity?
Star Maiden, or Villanelle of the Justified Plagiarist
after Star Maiden (1988), SBC’s first science-fiction drama
Here, a need appeased with imitation.
Did we dare call art provision? We did;
no place for grace when we made haven.
Since in this first recipe for nation
art was accoutrement, artists hid
here, within imitation.
We said what is pure must first turn ashen
its worth posthumous in the city grid;
no place for grace if we are to make haven.
Now, sheep-sheared, wool over eyes unwoven
our work a sample of a past overridden
but remember, we pleased with imitation
no pace for grace when making haven.
David Wong Hsien Ming discovered poetry as a child at a Sunday lunch. His work earned an Honorable Mention (2011) before winning second prize in Singapore’s Golden Point Award (2015), and has appeared in publications like Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Ceriph, and Mascara Literary Review. His first collection, For the End Comes Reaching, was published by Math Paper Press in 2015 at the Singapore Writers Festival. He read philosophy at the University of Melbourne and is now a JC teacher.
More of him can be found at davidwonghsienming.wordpress.com