Yeow Kai Chai

Yeow Kai Chai is the author of two poetry collections, Pretend I’m Not Here (2006) and Secret Manta (2001).He co-edits the online journal, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore. He is also the deputy editor of the arts and lifestyle section in Singapore’s The Straits Times, where he reviews music and writes pop-culture commentaries.



Red and Blue

The accessory, zipped up,
awaits the blink-off.

Redacted, this could
just end up one jet-lagged lyre.

Keep soul, big stuff in the overhead
administration, says trolley dolly.

Here is what is: a suspicious package
with attendant implications.

It’s none of my personal vertex,
but we’re psyched for another

sexy spin, another hook
to hang civilisation on, like Equator.

Beyond allotted legroom,
degree of reclination and those

damp hot towels, we rise
and fall, aside from such plenitude,

terminal or tarnation.
Gazing out this sentimental window

into pitch dark, yanking soul
out of you . . .  to winnow these aisles

or suffuse every spore . . .
that’s what it should do, shouldn’t it?

If he can’t quite define it,
what hope the rest of us?

It isn’t the blue dress,
which doesn’t lie. It’s in the bag.

It is. Don’t get me wrong –
I like righteous peanuts and hot towels

that come all over my face,
the subject already taxiing

to a softly tick and what’s that slipping
from its side? A whiff? It’s time.

Hold that nip while the gentlest,
quietest one casually pulls a tiny red pin.



Quarterly Report No. 4: Pachinko Parlour Vending Machine
a reggaeton pantoum

Biorhythm pulsate baby crave
Slot plastic token slit
Pop David apple diorama
Tip on Renaissance palindrome

Slot Hoboken plastic slit
Karaoke queen light koan
Spit on Renaissance palindrome
Baby love caw macaw

Karaoke queen light kaftan
Secretary bird wind toy
Baby love paw macaque
Cool duck pop placebo

Secretary dirge toy boy
Work Geylang parlour breeze
Cool duck put Kanebo
Now perfect tongue service

Ice cream parlour breeze
Impostor take on hyperrealist
Now defect Foreign Service
Doppelganger slip crash mirror

Impostor take aurora borealis
Reverse phat spin lips
Doppelgänger slap dash traitor
Ream gleam soda fizz

Reverse fat pink slips
Drink up silver chalice
Ream gleam Lola fizz
Game for it kissogram

Drink up silly heiress
Pop Babel juicy melisma
Dame kiss o Gran
Biorhythm pulsate babbling slave



Gold In Them Trees

Gold my woebegone gill
In rays fill such lustrous haze
Them everything but these
Trees where no human will