Web Exclusives - Poetry

Abhay K


Hiuen Tsang spent seventeen years travelling from China to India and back in the seventh century CE, at the time of the Tang dynasty emperor Taizong. His adventures inspired Wu Ch’en-en’s sixteenth century novel, Journey to the West, which refers to India as ‘Buddha’s pure land’.

Chiang Yomei


We're in free fall

from life to life 

From the gallows on Tower Hill

to a palace in Old Cathay...

Anuradha Gupta


I should have kept it –

the tongue I grew up with,

the language of my mother

and her mother before her...

John Thieme


I make steady progress across the board.
‘Imperious’ is the word you use to describe it, 
While mounting a nonchalant defence, 
Against my hopeful, hopping pegs, 
Pygmy soldiers in the Shanghai dusk.
Tammy Ho


In Hong Kong, an art installation is taken down when the artists explain what it really means.

Sonnet Mondal


The four plastic sunflowers in my bedroom –
The way they swayed in the ceiling fan’s air
Were the functional year-long April for me.
Reshma Ruia


The cockpit dashboard blinks 

A thousand eyes

Each dial a finger

Spinning him somewhere 

Far beyond the star-rimmed sky...

Jee Leong Koh


The floor is cold with the coming winter.

     I pull on white socks

and sit down before the blackout window

to think about our separation closing in.

Tammy Ho
It took an artist a hundred days to suck
enough pollutants out of the Beijing air to make a brick...
Saleem Peeradina


In Eden, the fig leaf failed its mission – the fruit hung

Immodestly from the tree, tender as a testicle.

Shanta Acharya


After a painting, ‘Yogini in the forest’, in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford


'It had something to do with the air...'

Reid Mitchell


Jiangnan canals are frozen

Men walking home are murdered

for a pint of rice. Door to door, orphans

beg for gruel. Sly, greasy cooks invite them

in to welcoming kitchens.

Andrew Barker


Harem whore. Worthy Lady. Concubine.

Then Consort. Then the Noble Consort Yi.

Kim Kyung Ju


It is raining, but people’s faces are flowing, hugging separate things as they enter the used-book store. They unhappily place their book in a vacant space and then one worn out book spreads open in secret.

Dino Mahoney

Hong Kong, bing bong,

Boho, Noho, Lan Kwai Fong.

Roving eye, see you later,

rising up the escalator.....

(With a translation in Chinese by Simon Wu)

Download Hong Kong Bar Hop from iTunes here.

Read Dino Mahoney's Hong Kong Bar Hop blog post here.

Tammy Ho


Shamed by your denial,

we wait:

Glory and repentance,

we seek both.

we need both.

Queenie Li


‘They have families to feed,’ I was told.
‘They really cannot be blamed.’
Tammy Ho


Treasures From the Vault:

Three poems by Tammy Ho, originally published in the Summer 2006 issue of the Asia Literary Review.

Reid Mitchell


According to RocketNews24, peach producers in the PRC are struggling to make sales. A controversial marketing ploy prompted China-based poet Reid Mitchell to pen this paean to peaches.

Reid Mitchell
The army opened the gates,
the barracks, the sports fields,
the armoury to us today
So we now know
when we are gunned down
it will be by lonely
Kate Rogers
In February the north wind was still sharpening its knife
on the granite of Lantau Peak.
A man on a motorcycle sped up
to slit open the skin of a journalist;
exposed his backbone.
Ann Ang


First day and Third Uncle says,
‘Raining liao, last year not like that.’
Spring, in his mind
is a static, sweltering brightness.

Veronica Pedrosa


You came to me like the rain.
Time passed; the weather changed
and you left puddles on the earth
that showed me the sky in the mud.
Changming Yuan


Seeing the strange belts
like little mouth masks
hung on bamboo poles
I often wondered ...

Bryan Cheong Sui Kang


The trapped their caves escape.
The honest poor rejoice in the streets of Baghdad,
and birds despite the cage
have words enough to speak.

Shanta Acharya


This poem was inspired by the death of Jyoti Singh Pandey who was gang-raped in a bus in Delhi on 16 December 2012. She later died in a hospital in Singapore, where she was sent for treatment by the Indian authorities. The Indian media called the 23 year-old woman Nirvaya, the fearless one. It was her father, Badrinath Singh, who revealed her name. He wanted the world to know who she was.

Reid Mitchell


Simon Peter gives his own account of knife crime.

     A sword?  Some sword.
     I grabbed a meat knife off the table
     when Jeshua warned us
     we had a betrayer in our midst.

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