Singapore’s Favorite Poem

Kristin Bong, a student, nominates as her favorite Singapore poem “Rumour” by Jerrold Yam. She writes, “To me, it reveals the vulnerability of being in love that is so often masked by the romanticism portrayed in films. Yam’s poems are always fresh and unapologetically raw, voicing truths that capture the sentiments of so many of his generation.”


Always, on a postcard night, snow slipping
like sifted sugar, they would arrive,
lovers reconciled under Christmas lights in
complete disregard for traffic. For a while
my eyes would agree, fogging
with the warmth of a cinematic scam,
sockets to widen like lips
greedy for the first kiss in seven episodes.
Truth or accidental cynicism
depends conveniently on gender.
few moments I’d somehow be trapped
with the characters, the fear of losing
almost as great as love. Then I’d pull out,
away from indulgence, as a thief
pulls out before the crime, his hands
unshackled, yet willing to be proven wrong.

by Jerrold Yam, from Scattered Vertebrae, Math Paper Press

Reprinted with the author’s permission.


Image from author’s website.

Jerrold Yam is a law undergraduate at University College, London, and the author of the poetry collections Scattered Vertebrae (Math Paper Press, 2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (Math Paper Press, 2012). His third collection is forthcoming in 2014.

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.

One comment

  1. datta2014

    Dear poet,
    The title in tune with the simile, the very beginning resonates with the meaning of the poem Keep writing.

    “always, on a postcard night, snow slipping
    like sifted sugar, they would arrive,”
    UNIQUE Image.


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