Title: Sport 29

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman, October 2002

Part of: Sport

Conditions of use



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Sport 29: Spring 2002

Tze Ming Mok

Tze Ming Mok

page 63

reverse engineer a poem for sport (exploded sestina)

I've wrecked a/rail line to the mainland for/as little as a running poem/that doesn't have any sport/in it. All your whistling down the road won't engineer/silence in reverse.

Train yourself to reverse/all expectations of travel for/a while. My Kachin Independence Army Jingpo em/igrates every chance he gets. He thinks the singular form is diaspor. T/eleology is secession's engine. Er/itrea is still a

real country, but gambling is not a sport/to be nationalised. Meanwhile, everyone on the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party is a qualified engineer/and this is the truth, not just something that might fit in a poem./ Our new president has high hopes for/an ending that will avoid a simple line from zed to a./ I used to think I was constantly arriving, but it's quite the reverse

of how heartfelt populations lie forever se/en and underseen. The shape of the house puts a/ party on while I cry at home and my poem/from across the border. How do you pack for this trip if everyone is tanking up on hideous port,/ill-shaken gin, e, er/satz sensibilities—and what, what, what the hell for?

page 64

Oh. I didn't expect to reverse/ over the engineer/like that. He coughs, and a/poem/ flies out of his chest for/death likes to make sport

of literature. Why would anyone in their right countryside reverse/ engineer/ a poem/ that was nothing but empty maps, for/the tinbred glory of resurfacing in a/kitchen floor war confused with fun and games and sport?

Finally: you say you won't work for repo, emulate those who massacre verse. I thought I'd lost all those numbers in the square, but it was just Mr Deng in eerie silence with the blankest of intentions. This is my nationality—it breathes out to the cusp, to a perfect surrender.

xia yu

all the people in puddles
came down with
out their dialects. we
look at each
other in english.
tears crash everywhere.

page 65

‘My room is too small
this must mean it's time
to leave again.’ may rain
can't help but be
descending with its talk

colouring the background in
a million relief lines pointing
down, down. ‘I'm out of here
soon too it's too cold
out here soon.’ may rain
divides a million brief puns

into backroom talk
descending around, around.
‘I'm out of room may I
may I rain soon.’ no pause
in the fall of the
multilingual undress

babbling through its ears: xia yu! xia yu!
rain fall; down with

hear the crash everywhere
shaping the silence
of a lover who asks
without moving his mouth:
‘What did you put on your skin?
My tongue's gone numb.’