Henrik Hoeg on Peel Street Poetry Annual Slam 2018:
The 13th anniversary of Peel Street Poetry, the largest English language open mic poetry night in Hong Kong, brought another night of celebration and verse capped off with the annual slam competition. As happens each year, groups of competitors were given a prompt and only 10 minutes to write a poem in response to that prompt. They battled in groups of five, and one person from each group was selected to go through to the final. The poems published here are from the five finalists, either from their first round or from the final in which the prompt was ‘replicate’. This year the judging panel was comprised of last year’s winner Denis Tsoi, the former director of the Hong Kong International Literary Festival Phillipa Milne, and Peel Street Poetry organisers and Cha contributors Akin Jeje and Henrik Hoeg. Reena Bhojwani’s “Two”, featured below, is the Winner of 2018’s Peel Street Poetry Annual Slam.

by Reena Bhojwani

There are two
There are two
There are two
Two of us:
one me, one you

Stale yesterdays
burnt toast—once baked,
falling off the walls, awake
Plastic breaths
are hard to breathe.
Although hair grows
hairlines recede.

Which of these, do you anticipate,
the Universe will replicate?
Will they call him your son
or call him mine?
What will be chosen by the divine?

Will my eyes be copied?
Will it be your smile?
Or when we mind-meld,
Will it all go wild?
Will we get twins?
Or double that?
Will they all fit in our tiny flat?

Our credit card bills, I hesitate,
will be what will accumulate.

I’m not the kind to make believe
What good can two by two achieve?

Two of one
Is one too many

Let our souls go—dissipate
Mistakes do not evaporate

I am one
I’m one too many
Please. Stop.
Or my desires will fluctuate.
I don’t think we should replicate.

Reena Bhojwani loves working with words. She has been trying her hand at poetry with the Peel Street Poets for two years now. This is the first time she has ever published her poetry. She has also been a member of the Hong Kong Writers Circle since 2010, hosting writing workshops and publishing short stories in the group’s anthologies. She teaches creative writing to children at Elephant Community Press by day and writes for both adults and children in her free time. Other than writing, she loves dancing, playing board games and listening to music.

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