Quarterly Literary Review Singapore
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Vol. 1 No. 2 Jan 2002

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Tokyo Stanzas

Disneyland is reached by going
through a grey, desolate, and boring
industrial landscape, and it's all been reclaimed
from the sea, piled up mud, and sand, mud
and sand, Tokyo's the same, bedtown upon bedtown,
with modular units, damn, damn, Le Corbusier,
in conforming white and slate grey, until. . .

you reach the city, but there's no way you can tell,
unlike Disney, where the real excitement begins,
because, it's all very much the same, the country
and the city, and only the dirty rivers serve
like red margins in an account book to mark
off for tax purposes this bit of land from another,
and so you begin to see Sally, why in this sprawl,
an offensive piece of mechano, the Eiffel tower
must function in Tokyo as a look there's a landmark,
and later, because there is no real God or Emperor.

In place of the Imperial palace and the shrines,
the city fathers have raised in their image a
gothic edifice, the twin towered metropolitan
building, not unlike Batman and Gotham City's Hall,
an administrative folly, from which they can oversee
the companies coupling in 2000 merger mania,
the products taller, brasher, and grander children,
each vying for space on the mud and in the sky.


Go there when the moon is out in full,
Go there by pleasure trains in lieu of boats,
Go there to the centre of vomit and bad sex,
where afterhours the office juniors
congregate around charcoal braziers
where scrawny chicken and emaciated
vegetables turn black,and they wash
it down with urine coloured beers,
and the conversation in this veritable
salon? Is about lipstick, Is about hair,
about the office, about shopping,
about food, and always they check
in their mirrors, these narcissi;
and the boss, horny as hell, makes a pass
at a shy girl, while in a hotel his colleagues
fuck her friends who go to local colleges,
so the gangsters profit from each prick
in a cunt, and so does the city hold vice
to account, by taxing the hotel, the colleges
and punters, but the gangsters can through
sweet charity evade taxes, or by
turning to religion, pay none or next to none.

By Stephen Pain

QLRS Vol. 1 No. 2 Jan 2002


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  Other Poems in this Issue

By Stephen Pain.

Family Photos
By Wendy Gan.

Ayer Hitam
By Wendy Gan.

By Cyril Wong.

A Lion, In 5 Parts
By Daren Shiau.

By Allison Lee.

an exercise in gameability
By Christopher Mulrooney.

On The Birth Of A Child
By Lee Tse Mei.

August Moon
By Yeow Kai Chai.


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