See Wern Hao
A Utilitarian Analyses the Mosh Pit
After St. Jerome’s Laneway Festival Singapore 2016. For Shu Hui, Zhen Zhou and Fang.
Axiom: The theory of attraction -- intimacy increasing exponentially with collapsing distance. From this, derive:
Proposition (A): The crowd shackle their bodies to the front row and offer themselves up to the next act in line, letting the sun cleave their exposed arms.
Proposition (A’): The pragmatists congregate in the only air-conditioned tent, boredom festering across their faces in vacant stares and polite nodding at whoever is on stage.
Proposition (B), on Dissipated Responsibility: A squad of blonde girls shove their way through to link up with another sisterly section. They fortify their indifference against a wave of turned faces creasing with annoyance.
Proposition (C): From (B), infer that crushed beer cans will sprout across the field by the end of the day, their contents pollinating the livers of those who believe they need to drown before they can breathe again.
Proposition (D): As vocals combine with drumbeats and synthesizers, each layer slid into the mix throws up a field of arms, their measured swaying like grass in the wind before it is trampled on.
Proposition (E): The stage lights swell from their silver filaments up-close. Later, smiles will blossom in hearts even after the last tent wilts inside the storage truck the next morning.
Conclusion: If A > A’, then D+E > B+C.
Wheeling you into the operation theatre,
my shivering hands cannot bear
to hold yours, limp at the side
of the bed. Your eyes are clamped
in a calm as if opening them
would let your fears leak
and stream down your face,
draining you until you become a ghost
of the self everyone cares to know
you by. I think back to the times
when I tapped you on the arm,
reassured you with my straight stare
like a doctor finding your vein,
an entry point to your heart
through which I could inject a whisper
“I love you dear, I’ll stay.”
I think you knew those words made you
numb to the gnawing doubts
which heard my vacant voice
talking past you in conversation,
which caught my wayward gaze
at other girls, at other times.
Now, seeing you shrink into yourself,
I wonder if I can plunge courage in-
to your neck,
mark those same words
with lips and teeth so violent
I must mean it,
only dealing with the withdrawal later
after I wean you from us,
my lies spilling from your heart’s split
stitches as you scream and scream.
See Wern Hao is pursuing Law and Liberal Arts at the National University of Singapore and Yale-NUS College. His works have been featured in anthologies such as "A Luxury We Must Afford", "Words: Lost and Found" and "This Is Not A Safety Barrier".