Thursday, July 12, 2012

Poem: "Airplane Poems"

Airplane Poems

I have only now become acquainted with the meaning of migration.

            Yasmeen Hameed, “I Am Still Awake”

You said, every Singapore poet has an airplane poem.
Takeoff. Ascent. Window view. Turbulence. Landing.
We are a race of travelers and write what we know,
the illusion of reaching and leaving easily anywhere,
the airplane, in the language of logistics, an airbridge.

Belting up, on my annual flight to Singapore, I think,
migration is the opposite of travel. It initiates a break
that one tries to stuff with one’s body, like a psycho
pushing the bag of his victim into the back of his car.
Or one tries it with flowers, a paper cone of gerberas

lighting the edge of the grave of every vanished place.
Or else with airplane poems. Years I used to fall asleep
the moment the plane took off and sleep until landing.
Not any more. The belt pinches. The seat constricts.
I’m kept awake by the cabin light and the body’s aches.

for Ruihe

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