Yusa Zhuang

Zhuang Yusa lives in Singapore. His poetry has been published in Sargasso (Puerto Rico), ditch, (Canada), The Toronto Quarterly, Ganymede, The Los Angeles Review, nth position and elsewhere. His poetry has also been anthologized in Ganymede Poets Vol. One (Ganymede Books, 2009) and Smoke (Poets Wear Prada, 2009).


Thoughts In An Easier Time


Isn’t torture

at heart a refusal

to get used to

a compromised life?


The acceptance is not

the pardon:


the flesh is weak; the tormentors

hold the proof

by the joints of its limbs

and a hammer – 


The mind is weak; the flesh

poisons with its blood

in easier times.


The spirit flees the body

with a scream

that isn’t heard.


The spirit enters the body

without pity

when it is broken enough.


You are dead to me, the beloved says

at the final parting,

for in my heart you live –


When my aunt chewed bark in China

to kill the hunger

of exile, who did she turn to


and did the memory

sustain her enough

to let it go?




A Suicide




Coffee is brewing.

The neighbour’s car engine.

Jason’s cat

steals back from the hunt, tripping past the shoes.


Somewhere a door. Somewhere else

another door – 


The clean-swept pavements outside

once again

astonished by leaves, some still falling. 




Off Day


A world without heroes, says the action hero

on TV, is a world without suffering.


Yes, it is tiring, I say to a friend

who bothered, but it brings in the money.


The past is a mirror

shattered: in pieces, like the heart.

We remain mysteries to each other,

even so.


In love, the heart


like a bomb –


And mother,

placing the autobiography back onto the shelf, says –

no one served time longer than he did,

for political reasons – as if refusing to say more.