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Line Break Courage and Other Poems by Zhou Sivan

‘we need to reinvent the image of tragedy for the nation everyday / or even in the everyday / get incensed or pretend to be so or else there is no exit and no future’



Boat People


Caught in the drain of time hungry for a desk job a nick of pie
or nicotine welp so am I a toothless gum seeking a brush with
the hymen of exemplary light, no, I covet the blight airy kaya
toast in underwear and hush gray uniform desire is not hope
or at least that’s what I think about seed in my throat a sluice
another room folding moonlight into a passepied as we slow
gather flowers as we gather boat people as we gather flowers
it becomes all too real too impossible since there is no neo- no
post- no neo-post-colonial chicken now our end is bile on this
Andaman sea storm moving to be moved “since when did the
nation televise rain?” and the answer’s all the time so why not
talk about me and my cats I loathe the physiocrats didn’t they
think 2015 was a plastic door for crops since I thrive on the sea
of disguises and I can only imagine that jealousy hurts the salt
supply you can’t get shot for breaking the waves and entering
the Langkawi sunset which OMG is amazing you’re part of it
you’re in the news I eat my lobster alone I’ll dream and ration
your liberation at the next hemoglobin summit grosgrain spin
people like you’ll eat nimble trees and remind us of our saline
crossings but please only twice a year at daylight saving time







Call me seaweed but not minuteweed tearthumb devil’s tail
nor sea slave as common names drift in this praxis of a moat
bathtub for scofflaws berating the warden of good hope will
ghost ships in the South China Sea whir winches in the dark
a voice praying for a messiah or sea shepherd am I even real
a sessile joyweed or brede embellage or vao sosolo or dwarf
copperleaf or bhirangihjar pull my thesaurus-driven puppet
strings shut all ye purse seiners for sale I am the motherlode
of dreams the vampire seaweed circling a black hole I won’t
stop speaking unless you have trouble connecting to Google
or unplug the old mainframe of paradoxical truth and desire
as a knotweed I’m a liberal slang for “something’s not right
but let’s sit on it” or “my garden’s not perfect till you root it
out” this “least concern” conservation status of an invasive
species this modest proposal where our fat young are eaten
as vegetable fails to shock every human is ex officio a weed
slowly screaming Listen to me the other weed’s a hypocrite
so power is never consensual and consent is never powerful
and reality is better off as affect or telepathic debt or distant
reading of stars as the mothership enemy loads barrels of ice





Literary Topos, Or: Campsite


verba plane evidentia
the poem is courteous the poem

curtius lives up to its stinging reputation


as a dark sea pentagon
eschewing the world created at the abattoir


litter bugs auditioning the parent fruits
torn at the hour

anaesthetic popol vuh


half-frightened and half-ready worried
to be without innards


when the basic problem is the solution to the basic problem of aesthetic continuity in any theory of revolution


the remission of the unidentified corpse to forest rangers gives us a better handle on repetition compulsion, or what is known as police fun


Edificio is “very nice” considering he used to be a person with complete facilities

tactile and spotless, friendly, never shy, comedian, still walking, and totally willing to commit himself to the parish


a pastoral landscape waiting to be written or proctored against the map of ten football fields in Burma


after all, we rely on the largesse and remonstration of hermits to the state council

to not report a crime that never existed
hence the foreword of cultural relativism is intact


with Priam the future





Line Break Courage


scansion (here) is a heartbeat wide

murmur unaccented
stop motion breeze


that which gives me life fallopian
like mother’s milk or intellectual

has become debris


every mourning is a collective of dried sunflowers
caked in blood

but we need to reinvent the image of tragedy for the nation everyday
or even in the everyday


get incensed or pretend to be so or else there is no exit and no future

or else the meeting of flesh and mud after the waifish calm is just the newest publicity stunt at the Putrajaya circus blockbuster set


animal recyclables


“there was no foul play” meaning everyone is entitled to a natural cause of death but only ex post facto and on paper

meanwhile crude anger due to semantic cleansing always subsides like a pebble dropping in fiction


like an insect’s soundless breath


like an imaginary bear mounting the ampoules of Buddha’s fingers


like concise sutras playing the numbers game


like a riposte in the form of a pun such as “gender geese” proliferating phrases like “to take a gander at the geese” which is phenomenology’s way of saying “to engender geese”


like nothing is real in the end


[insert heartbeat]


as we corn-feed our newsfeed our invisible foreskins assuming that we have some and wash them before they sprout delicate dangers and delicacies at the next dim sum party or even worse amazing racial or racist qualities in public