An Archivist and Other Poems by Euginia Tan

an archivist
by Euginia Tan

 

should all names
return to the world?
he would ask himself this,
on the nights he stays up
scavenging for spirits
buried under dried leaves.
the mango tree is
the tropical plant of choice
in cemeteries.
replacing headstones of
prisoners in fiji
he grimaces a little,
as the light from the projector
bounces off
my bent fork bracelet,
his findings shimmering
underneath my red wine dregs
contained in
a disposable cup

 

 

and so we kissed
by Euginia Tan

 

On a good night the
clouds curl over the moon and
I remember your hair
falling over your face,
framing it imperfectly;
just enough for me to see the
tremor in your lower lip. And so we kissed.

On a bad night I
don’t see anything. The sky is
not only bare but
barren.

 

 

moses
by Euginia Tan

 

he had his muses.
he was devoted.
he captured essences
in vials, whereupon
he could turn these
into works of god.
our time was short.
it was not enough
for me.

he would move on
to greater things.
and i would only
hear about them
from the other side
of the sea.
i could not part.
he knew his art.
he had his choices.
not me.

 

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Reprinted by permissions of author and publisher, the three poems appear in Phedra by Euginia Tan (Singapore: Ethos Books, 2016).

 

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Euginia Tan self-published two collections of poetry, Songs About Girls and Playing Pretty. She was in the National Arts Council Mentor Access Programme 2013 (mentored by Grace Chia) and Curating Lab 2014 under Heman Chong and NUS Museum. She is also the curator for the Visual Arts Development and Association by Chan Hampe Galleries from 2015 to 2016. In 2016, she wrote her first play, Holidays, (performed in 2016) under the mentorship of Joel Tan. Her second play, Tuition, (2016) will be performed under the Twenty Something Theatre Festival, produced by Tan Kheng Hua.

 

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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