Featured Poem

Goya under the influence of a 1998 Shiraz: Saturn II
by Grace Chia

last night, furiously, I dunked a chalice
of my own blood and grew heathen, hulk-like
rampaging through the radioactive streets of
a mental spell under siege;
uprooted some forests, drained the lagoons,
then taunted the volcanoes to boil over
(they did).
the planets realigned. The moon played hopscotch
with his sister sun while the dinos roared for the last
time, then slept soundly, bone naked on the soft mound.
Earth skated round the rink many times
while hapless Mars held on for the ride.
mammals on fours stood up to walk on twos.
metal made blades—was found to be useful.
tools caught food; raped then made food
prostitutes for power.
politics bounced off the walls
from meatballs to basketballs—
as mongers of jackals scavenged
the remains of leftover suppers.
through all this, I peeled my ears to the ground
waiting for a thunderous walk
waiting for Colossus to mash my brains
(he didn’t).
in one drop of a crystalline tear
the labyrinthine stew of my brains
was ravaged, swallowed whole.
in the alcohol of a coherent self
my senses plummet and plunder,
starved, I gouge out entrails,
pop an eye then devour my organs.


Reprinted with the author’s permission, the poem was first published in Stylus Poetry Journal, and subsequently in Chia’s collection, Cordelia, Ethos Books. You can read a review of the book at Singapore Review of Books.

Grace Chia is the author of two full-length poetry collections, womango and Cordelia, two non-fiction books as well as literary chapbooks. Her short stories and poetry have been widely anthologised in textbooks and literary journals, including Understanding Literature (Pearson/Longman Singapore), Singapore Literature in English: An Anthology (National University Press), Mining for Meaning (Learners), Merlion: An Anthology of Poems, Fish Eats Lion, Di-Verse-City (USA), HOW2 (USA), Stylus Poetry Journal (Australia), die horen (Germany), La Traductiere (France) and Knijzevne Novine (Serbia). Her works have been translated into French, German and Serbian. She was a guest writer to the Austin International Poetry Festival (USA) and the Queensland Poetry Festival (Australia) in 2002, the National Young Writers Festival in Newcastle (Australia) in 2003 and the Singapore Writers’ Festival in 2011 and 2012. In 2011-2012, she was the inaugural NAC-NTU National Writer-In-Residence. Currently, she is working on her novels and teaching at the English Division of NTU.

About Jee Leong Koh

My book of poems Steep Tea (Carcanet) was named a Best Book of 2015 by UK's Financial Times, and a Finalist by Lambda Literary. I also wrote three other books of poems and a book of zuihitsu. My work has been shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize, and translated into Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian and Latvian. Originally from Singapore, I live in New York City, where I edit the arts blog Singapore Poetry, and run the Second Saturdays Reading Series and the Singapore Literature Festival in NYC.

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