Out There


Windows open into travelogues
knee-deep in grass, health
advisories flapping in the wind.
Walls papered with five-second
headlines at ten. A commercial
for whiter-than-white washing
detergent dangles bright from
the ceiling. In the kitchen,
a damsel’s tears at the hands
of her rich taiwanese mother-
in-law fill my mother with
such outrage she goes to bed
still talking about it.
I am asking, how much television
can my parents watch?
Enough, I think, to dream
of lying on opposite sides
of the bed in a concrete cube
cut from so much
image and sound
it almost becomes like home
between crumpled sheets.

Nostalgia, undefined


Nostalgia /nŏ-stāl’jə, nə-/


  1. Fingers that trace

    lead-lined walls, searching

    for familiar playground crevices,

    now correction-taped

    to a forgotten smoothness.

    How much, then, for that nail

    to hang old mirrors from,

    safe from white rainbows outside?


    Is there enough change in your pocket?


  2. The external siege,

    the internal threat;
    the irrefutable logic of loss
    and the flags we must
    raise in between.


  3. A kind of second sight to the
    shape of stories returning home.
    Faces squirming in grey starched uniforms.

    They bow, the silver buttons on their shoulders

    catching the light with blinding brilliance.

    My name loose in the air, trained

    to a memory I do not yet own.

Winner of Moving Words 2011, Loh Guan Liang weaves quiet words in a city obsessed with speed, words still enough to spin every waking moment into gold. His poems have appeared on Ceriph, Mascara Literary Review, Moving Words 2011: A Poetry Anthology, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, and twntysmthg. His debut chapbook of poems, Transparent Strangers, will be released during the Singapore Writers Festival 2012.