Poetry / February 2011 (Issue 13)


by Nicholas Wong

Scientists say one’s want reflects one’s lack.
Let’s say in the street, you see the smooth
thighs of women. Then, an urge from the parietal lobe
in your watery cerebrum kicks in, so you want to suck
a cherry dipped in dark hot chocolate.

This association is nothing erotic. It is biological –
your body simply lacks sugar and fiber.

Here I am, in a two-star Michelin
restaurant, reviewing your signature green
lies, soaked in a thin layer of lemon
liqueur and ginger oil. They look fresh
and organic. I put a slice, soft and creamy,
on my tongue, the one that you tasted
and tasted you. The lies melt at once, followed
by an after-kick of tepid alcohol. Then,
you appear from the kitchen in white,
looking professional even without the tall
ruffled chef hat, and ask me how many stars
your gratifying lies are worth.

I wake up this morning, with a compulsion to taste my blood.
I distrust Descartes; I believe in the body,
so I listen to it.
I slide a razor along my chin,
the sound of which so calming, almost quiet,
like a cat licking its paws.
A thin red line appears, blood slowly soaking
the white foam. I look into the mirror,
bored with my surface.
Then, I wipe a drop of red with my finger
and have a good taste of my inner self.

Last day of every month,
in this elderly home,

the same birthday song dies out,
followed by disjointed rounds of clapping.

Wishes then fill up the room,
wishes whispered by those

who cannot name names
and recall when they were born.

Their bed, their breaths and their hair
smell fetidly the same.

Nurses urge them to make wishes
before it is too late. They do.

Wallpapers are busy listening,
contemplating what they want.

Let me live one more day
I want to see my children

I will give them up if only
I could live one more day

Then, they gather the greatest
strength from their weakest lungs and

blow the candles.
As they wish,

the flames are gone,
leaving the lonely sugar-coated

cake on the table,
surrounded by soulless gazes

that truly appreciate perhaps
their last sweetness in life.

He finally confessed
his dirty deeds.
She did not cry.
Her face
once hidden in her body
surfaced slowly.
She started to become
like a human
especially when he
introduced his pores
to her fingertips again –
warm but crunchy
like home-baked brownies.
He endorsed the divine touch.
She repaid with discreet food
from the microwave
that gorged their stomachs
gorgeously in micro ways.

After eating,
he hushed her.
He forbade speeches.
He skipped pillow talks.
A woman’s lips –
he thought –
should chant for his hairy skin.
To him, words lost what
they meant when said to those
who meant nothing.
That mouth should be sealed
and concealed –

Editors' note: Read "A Cup of Fine Tea: Nicholas Y.B. Wong's "Appetites"" here. 

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All poems, stories and other contributions copyright to their respective authors unless otherwise noted.