2nd Singapore Poetry Contest – First Prize Winner

President’s Day
by Josh Lefkowitz


What kind of ego do you have to have
To think you cannot stand to be
Around even the mere friends of your ex
Sorry Amanda I’m outing you by name
In this here poem we all went bowling
Last night on President’s Day Eve
By the way President’s Day seems like
The silliest of all national holidays
Seriously was it invented by
Furniture stores and suit warehouses
They seem to be the ones profiting
But I digress Amanda I am sorry
For your break up from six months ago
But I am not him and your friends
Are also my friends and you too
Are my friend if you will allow it
It is not fair though of me to talk of
Being overly-emotional or egocentric
For god’s sake you’ve read the poems
You know how these things can go
And here is something else that is not
Fair that girl Marie last night was
Singapore-born and Paris-raised and
Very beautiful and very into me
Or so I thought but turns out she just
Liked the company and thank you to
Dorothy for that cross-the-table text
That read “btw she’s got a boyfriend”
Three cheers to Dorothy for saving me
From once again chasing the unattainable
That’s all we can ask for from our
Friends or Presidents a simple
Text message to let you know that the
Girl or the economic redistribution plan
Is just not that into you Dorothy
You are the Obama of friends I would
Terrorist fist bump you any day
Even President’s Day I’ll be your Veep
I’ll hold down the fort while you sleep
And do let Amanda know heartbreaks
Take time hell me I’m just Biden mine


Judge’s comment: “With a deliciously light touch, “President’s Day” discourses, better still, digresses on egotism and romance, the economics of national holidays, and the quest for the unattainable all at once. It speaks of and to a world anxiously connected through technological breakthroughs and passionately divided through communication breakdowns. Singapore appears only incidentally in the poem–the beautiful girl Marie was born in that country–but that is precisely the poem’s point. Our new situation is such that we can meet, and fall in love with, someone from anywhere any time, and have our heart broken.”


Josh Lefkowitz Headshot







Josh Lefkowitz won the 2013 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Prize, an Avery Hopwood Award for Poetry at the University of Michigan, and was a finalist for the 2014 Brooklyn Non-Fiction Prize.  His poems and essays have been published at The Rumpus, The Huffington Post, The Hairpin, The Offing, and many other places in print and across the internet.  He has recorded humor pieces for NPR’s All Things Considered and BBC’s Americana.


Read the Second Prize and Third Prize Winners. The Singapore Poetry Contest is an annual celebration of the best poetry using the word “Singapore,” written by NON-Singaporeans. Awards of USD100, 50 and 20 go to the top three winners. The winning poems are published on Singapore Poetry; non-winning poems are considered for publication as well.

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. Eunice Qu

    whoo-hoo good one


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: