POETRY

Places that Matter

By

A Tale of Two Cities

To save space in the city I hear Malays have stacked burials. Bodies are laid to rest atop one another in the configuration of eternal peace while above tired bodies turn the key, opening with a well-oiled click locks to high-rise apartments. There are two cities--or maybe just one--seen through the eyes of the other--an otherworldly reflection of efficiency. Somewhere shampooed dogs bark at the moon while mouldering cats scratch their replies six feet under.

Streets of Bone and Ash

To save space in the city the Chinese are said to house their dead in concrete complexes complete with block, floor, and unit numbers. The departed never go away; they leave their addresses in stone so the living waste no time finding them. You walk up the steps, half-expecting to find a doorbell beside each smiling face. From afar the niches look like white windows, and with no address you are lost in streets of bone and ash searching for a niche of your own.

Loh Guan Liang's poems have appeared in Ceriph, Mascara Literary Review, Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and twntysmthg. Winner of the 2011 Moving Word poetry competition, he lives in Singapore. His debut chapbook Transparent Strangers is forthcoming under Math Paper Press.

There are two cities--or maybe just one--seen through the eyes of the other--an otherworldly reflection of efficiency. Somewhere shampooed dogs bark at the moon while mouldering cats scratch their replies six feet under.