Excerpt 5 from “Gigi’s Graphologist & The Ngadhu Gecko”

Read Excerpts One, Two, Three and Four.

chuān yún liè shí :: loud and clear
by Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé


Dr. Eichelberger segmented his life into neat rectangles. His recollections seemed to frame themselves according to the number of times he had to move, or overhaul a place, upon which his wife would make a visit. To peel around the front door, step into the house, spend an hour sizing up the space, then moving in as if she’d never insisted on anything at all. The windows had grills, and one-way mirrored glass. The kitchen top could not be marble because it was too porous. The drawers had to roll out smoothly, and lock into place when shut, without the slightest sound. All the crockery matched. As long as it was blue – any kind of blue – it belonged. Once, she realized a blue saucer was really more green than blue, and tossed it into the bin, then retrieved it for the neighbour’s cat. “The wooden laminate flooring was a nightmare,” Dr. Eichelberger said. “When the washer sprung a leak, the laundry room flooded. The water got under the flooring into the seam between it and the older tiles. In six months, the floorboards swelled, and some dislodged.” Dr. Eichelberger pried apart a couple of them, and beneath was mould. Its green sickened her. She moved out two days after, saying she felt the whole house was mildewed. That she couldn’t live in a space she couldn’t see.


Singapore Poetry DKon Yellow Facemask 01

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé helms Squircle Line Press as its founding editor and publisher. He is the author of The Arbitrary Sign (Red Wheelbarrow Books), with I Didn’t Know Mani Was A Conceptualist(Math Paper Press) forthcoming in 2014. He has edited more than ten books and co-produced three audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. A former entertainment journalist with 8 Days, Desmond has traveled to Australia, France, Hong Kong and Spain for his stories, which have included features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman, culminating in the authorship of the limited edition Top Ten TCS Stars for Caldecott Publishing. Trained in publishing at Stanford University, Desmond studied sociology and mass communication at the National University of Singapore, and later received his theology masters (world religions) from Harvard University and fine arts masters (creative writing) from the University of Notre Dame. An interdisciplinary artist, Desmond also works in clay, his ceramic works housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, UK, and USA. He is the recipient of the PEN American Center Shorts Prize, Swale Life Poetry Prize, Cyclamens & Swords Poetry Prize, Notre Dame Poetry Fellowship, NAC Writer-in-the-Gardens Residency, Stepping Stones Nigeria Poetry Prize, and Little Red Tree International Poetry Prize.

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.


  1. Desmond Kon

    Buckets of thanks, Jee Leong!!!


  2. datta2014

    Appreciate the description of the kitchen and the last line

    “she felt the whole house was mildewed. That she couldn’t live in a space she couldn’t see.”
    Something arresting in her sudden remarks.


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