• Davian Aw

Selected Poetry by Davian Aw


Photo Source: PxHere

Before the Storm

cold sprinkles from showerheads

on tired flesh in mute surrender

spray on walls, feet-polished tiles

escape through holes and merge again

in subterranean transit tubes.

approaching clouds of molten pewter

crowd out sun. the jostling bodies

fight for reign in finite sky and

sound their calls on shadowed land.

buildings, silent, stand in wait

in brick and stone and seasoned wood;

blades of brittle grass are forced

into embraces as they break

and float away in final whispering

scratching glides across the ground-

the cooling asphalt rumbles

startles dust back into motion

to resettle where peers took off

there to linger

there to wait.

Inversion

You walked into a mirror:

your reflection took your hand

and led you through the yielding silver

glass into another world.

None noticed one turn into two.

There was no sound. The traffic roared

in silence past the windowed walls,

the crowds the same. They hurried fast

in rushing droves of muted chatter

eyes to phones or straight ahead

their bodies marching in parade

towards the doors out to the street

The carpet same beneath your feet

the station pillars old with grime

clocks marking time on backwards faces

words meant for inverted gazes

screamed from headlines, advertisements,

names of stores and other places;

None sees two turn into one.

The mirror, firm unyielding glass

that will no longer let you pass

In helpless revenge puppetry

you raise your hand to match the other's

wave. You wink, and laugh and smile

You are your own reflection now.

Passing

The day we died, nobody noticed

blood-stained steel wept on tired grass

in inanimate surrender;

said we'd fight to the death

but wounds can cut too deep

kill the spirit, vanquish hope, dampen will.

we passed as cowards in a world ablaze

a haze of fiery technicolour dream

skin stinging with the ice

of absent caresses

forgotten scents calling upon the breeze.

that's how we found heaven

through the eye of hell's storm

nostalgia blinding the pain

in a veil of bliss

till it might not have been there, then

in false memories of the day we died.

But this I remember:

the gold purple sky cascading to black

wild zephyrs stirring grass

billowing robes of slaughtered friends;

the first foreign stars peeking out to see

us,

lying there,

whispering poetry into the night.

Understudy

"Not dead," they said. not dead, not dead

the newspapers run no tribute. no funeral

darkens the world, no crying fans line up

with flowers to mourn someone you never knew.

they cover the body. it goes to the flames

as you watch, one hand placed on the glass,

none to meet it.

you remember the time when your two minds

diverged and you saw his smile turn

like a mirror distorted; his body a wreckage

and yours factory-new, and you knew at that moment

that he was not you.

on the screen is a stranger, the memories distant,

diluted. you laugh far too loud at the jokes.

"you're amazing," they say, and fans gush in your face

but his death weighs your heart

and none mourns him with you.

the world lost a great man. you're a crude parody

plastered smiling in magazines, bright on TV

looking just like the treasure you never will be

you revolt yourself

you are meat, thinking you're famous

you cannot bear mirrors,

his family's embraces

you scream in the night

at the loss no one knew

for that science didn't save him;

it only made you.

Final Jam

engine idles, exhaust rising

merging into sepia smog

drifting over freeway

congested with a former fear

beyond the curve of traffic

skyscrapers bend, mid-destruction

lashed with alien limbs

on the radio: foreign tunes

share airtime with catastrophe

passengers savour

sips of peace

stretched to fill

each final second.

Davian Aw is a Singaporean writer and Rhysling Award nominee whose short fiction and poetry have appeared in over 30 publications, including Strange Horizons, Abyss & Apex, NewMyths.com, Star*Line and Not One of Us. Some of his writing is available at https://davianaw.wordpress.com/