LAI-MING HO, Tammy
Anecdotes for he Future
Dark night. Fireworks horizontally
deployed from a moving black car,
weapons with ringing sounds
and colours. Smoke
gets in the eyes of protesters
in the town where I grew up.
The disobedient citizens
are determined to be,
to be disobedient,
in all parts of the city–flowers
blossom everywhere. All
walks of lives, all hues of hair,
cut open our regular existence
to forge a new Hong Kong.
Simplicity is not an Option
Even the computer keyboard
overhears the never-ending sounds
of shouting. People
teach themselves and others
how to plant traffic cones.
Goggles wear young faces—
not swimming but rising.
They walk towards me in dreams,
on a landscape
of billowing acrid smoke.
Artificial fog everywhere:
Fog in residential areas,
fog in homes for the elderly.
Lived lives confront lives lived—
We were the same, but now
speak different dialects
of gear. In schools they don’t
teach the scenario
of running away
from being gassed.
Elegy to a Brother Who Wrote Autobiographical Poems
I'm not her: the woman whom he sunbathed with
By the pool every afternoon for two months.
Was he thirty? She was much older. Those lilies
In her garden he vividly described in a poem;
The grease of his sweat in the sun.
I do not doubt he really joked about
Shooting the alarm clock on her lingerie chest.
I'm certainly not habitually depressed--
That other woman whose belly button's scarred
Is not me. They met in an underground disco
In 1973. Busan? I believe him:
If he wrote she burned his manuscripts, twice,
When they were fighting (and there was
Always a net of cords on the floor
Of her granny's house), then she
must have done so.
My age is probably closest to this girl
Whose neck was short. Like Scheherazade
She told stories into the night. Sometimes,
When she thought he finally fell asleep,
She let out an exhausted sigh
Long enough to celebrate the end of a day.
Perhaps he loved her, for only
positive remarks of her survive.
Decades ago, I urged him not to write about me.
Only fictionally could he put me in his work.
But I was told (and I could see)
Traces of me are everywhere,
Buried in his poems. Brother,
If you could be resurrected, I would punish you
For promise-breaking. I would tickle you
Breathless, like when we were still young.