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Poetry is Peng – November

Day Break

I will remember

A comic introduction to the contents of my refrigerator

Talk of a watermelon shaped like a cube

An invitation to a spontaneous date, in Chinatown! how fitting! – to a den named Opium, and us, snacking on dimsum nearing midnight.

The bright blue of your cashmere jumper peeked from above the stack of empty bamboo steamers

And I remember us talking about nothing

Just talking, just smiling,

Testing to see whether we would luck out.


Dinner done, tummy filled, out in the open

I teetered on the edge of the pavement, blinking into the headlights, no idea what was to come –

You flashed a brilliant stare and loomed towards my face, catching me, ensuring delight

And I did not falter as we stepped into the same black cab

Surging into the same gridlock.


London is what we call nippy.

As I blink into the cold summer sun, I will recall

Your army of grey tee shirts

Sweat-stained patches under the arms

Both our necks sun-drenched, yours redder than mine

And your favourite off-duty tee, a T-rex charging down at me, cartoonishly, me there, standing like a child

As you stood taller.


You were proud of your balletic fingers, long, elegant, fine.

Yet I was the one who played piano and could barely reach an octave.

We laughed at that.

That Saturday you had no class to teach

So we laid in the park for an hour, burning

Bodies entwined, giggling passers-by, snatches of Korean tourists conversing

And us on the grass both pretending to be sleeping.

But I knew your eyes were poring into my left cheek,

Lying horizontally –

Wondering whether we fit, for better or for worse

You had a hunch, but no definite answer. In searching for clues

You found my right cheek, smoothed out impressions the blades had made, and kissed it.

by Joyce Ng



Acid Rains

Acid rains

on a grey city


flaccid rain

’no-hope rain

burns holes in soles

& souls


A stubborn little curb-flower

tucks her wings in tight


& try to last the night


but the rain stings

the pain stings

the hate

the blame

& the shame sting


so she takes flight

& shelters beneath some un-natural light


The neon grins its grin

bears its glossy teeth

the colour snarls

its speech is brief:


“give in”


By Tim Romain


I dreamed there was no water

I dreamed there was no water anywhere.
But the trees were lush.
They were glossy and green and gracious.
Their fronds languidly waved in the heated stillness.
I walked beneath them, on the dry dirt, and my hair fell in my face.
My lips were cracked and I squinted holding my hand at my forehead.

The sun’s heat increased as my thoughts drifted.
I stood there, watching.
And looking for you.

The grasses were brown.
Withered as if scraped from inside.
Hollow but somehow still standing.

But the trees were lush.
They were full, complete, and danced in the breeze.

Parched, I watched.
You approached.
We lay down on the earth.

By Shelli Carpenter






Have You Ever Thought About It

Have you ever thought about it

The big bang might actually start with a group fight

Why does the Earth rotate eastward

Because it was slapped by a lefty in this fight

By Ruixuan Li, MPhil/PhD African Languages and Culture










I love you

You are the half-frozen candied grapes in winter*

I love you

You are the chilled coke in the fridge in summer

I love you

There’s no spring and autumn

Note: 糖葫芦(Tanghulu), translated as “candied fruit”, according to the poet herself, is the best street-food snack in northern China.

By Ruixuan Li, MPhil/PhD African Languages and Culture 

Yellow stockings

yellow stocking

I was doing not too bad before I saw them

I was exalting the latte put on my table

took out a book

read a page and it put a smile on my lips

yes life is ok

life is not so scary so peek out over the edge of the page

but those stockings slapped that smile off of my face

they smacked that ok out of my head

they bludgeoned me to near death

why did I have to look up from my page

why did I have to see those yellow stockings

yellow stockings

they are so absurdly cheerful

that’s why she used to wear them

By Christopher Chabra


Defining Lost Love

You love and you learn

That’s how it should be

But, sometimes you love, and you grieve.

For what your idea of love is

All that you showered each time you were close.

You didn’t want it to be just the same

It had to be everything your heart could give, and more

The purest of pure.

Except, you don’t always get that back

You take what you’re owed, and carry it round and round.

In grievance, you don’t love the same again

Even though you know your love was beyond them anyway.

By Raheema Khan (raheema_ek)


The Not So Innocent

She came alone as always.

Once kind-hearted, once care-free,

But times now are making her pay.

Counting the clients like one, two three.

The barman triggered by her presence knew she wouldn’t speak.

A frail smile as if he knew why she was here again,

She was here tonight to seek,

The search adding to her pain.

The same stiff drink as always.

Once in love, once full of fun, But times now are here to stay.

Counting to the end like three, two, one.

The gentleman captivated by her appearance knew what she was after.

A cold caress as if he owned her body already,

She was not here for laughter, The emptiness made her ready.

They think they understand her,

Eyes watching from close and afar.

She knew this wasn’t her worth,

She knew these times were creating a scar.

This isn’t who she is and hopes it isn’t who she will be, But the others cannot seem to be able to see.

The eyes in the room can create a lie,

It’s the not so innocent one that’s going home to cry.

By Austyn Close



Corridors seem to descend downwards,

 Despite walking further and further

We are unable to see the end.

The doors pass by left and right,

Sometimes cracking open

to glance at us as we pass,

Sometimes to invite us in.

But we never take them.


 It seems as if our path is laid out for us to take,

but with every decision we seem to continue down that same corridor.

 It can look like the streets sometimes,

That public place where we see others walking down their own corridors,

Passing doors.

I don’t know if we can ever say we have stopped to have a look inside,

We would know if we had.


It seems as if they are only ever cracks in frames,

No light escaping.

Can we see anything behind them,

Or see people looking back?


Keep walking.






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