A New Person Every Day
I made a picture composed of six clocks,
installed it above my bed with the help of a friend.
This friend and I, we're not speaking anymore
but his effort continues to hold up the timepieces,
representing six zones. I've confiscated their batteries.
Connections keep miscarrying anyway.
Until I figure out why, I won't start new ones,
busy as I am with all the stuff
from overseas: my mother in Singapore
confides that third brother has been checked
into an institution. Apparently there had been a fuss.
Don't tell father I told you, she adds. I won't,
I say into the phone, wondering with whom
I'm being more complicit. My Hunanese friend
didn't reply to my IM for one whole night,
and only the next day tells me the news
that he didn't get into grad school in Shanghai.
Had it not been for my encouragement in the first place,
would his disappointment have been less strong?
A Taiwanese friend complains that the wrong president
has been elected. I wonder what Xiaogang thinks,
with whom I severed contact.
I had said unretractable things to him in KL,
which he unfairly would not let me retract, crying
"There's no use forcing friendship after the fact."
New in Beijing, my Hong Kong friend
sends an Email mistakenly identifying Aristotle
as the originator of Aristophanes's "two halves" story
in the header. In the body, she announces
her engagement with Colm,
a new person she just met 28 days ago.
I undeceive her about Aristophanes.
Jean-Michel deletes me from his messenger —
first from his Médecins Sans Frontières account,
then from his U.K. home.
I wonder if this is a function of
too many new people clogging up his Skype,
though I then remember that he did lose grandmaman
shortly before I said "Peut-être" to his "A bientôt,"
and then over his "Arrête!"
drew the lips of my laptop shut.
In San Francisco, B. whom I love
is making a film I won't ever see.
The memory is still fresh in my mind,
of our knees knocking under the table
as above, he takes my hand in his.
By Lee Yew LeongQLRS Vol. 7 No. 4 Oct 2008