Lantern Review | Issue 8.2


Dear John, I desperately wish for a world without thieves, I
bring my own pillow when I travel, I’ve been waking up early
to write, is this how Thomas Edison felt, anyway, I will
always remember the strap around your books, coat buttoned
up the front, eyes quiet but alert, flickering blue flames.
Sexual Congress is in session. I’m an epiphyte perched on
your sprawling leaves, you beckon me into your chambers,
where you’re thinking about, I imagine, me, your first aid kit
handy, suddenly aware of my wanting, in your hands I’m soft
like mango & on your lips sweet like kyoho. You practice
withholding, at first gently, then not at all, with you it’s trick-
or-treat, even in January, it’s not exploitation if there are
flowers involved. Mouth and skin, your desire leaps into me,
taking me on a tour of Singapore, mouse modest in your
talons, I hold your lanpa in my mouth, swap spit in carnal
intercourse, pocket your seed, shimmy over to the Merlion,
suck in the Sands, swallow your Sir Stamford Raffles, drop by
Fort Canning, revel in your Istana, smack that Sentosa,
bukake at the American Club, wave to the Gurkha guards,
they’re born to kill, admire the half-naked boys at St.
Joseph’s, chat up the chicas at Crescent Girls’, you take me to
the Bird Park • Botanic Gardens • Bukit Merah • rail me from
Woodlands to Tiong Bahru, say things that would make Gan
Eng Seng blush, feed me a table of Hainanese chicken rice,
Bak Kut Teh, Char Kway Tew, Beef Rendang, carrot cake,
meaning Chai Tow Kway & not the white-people-dessert kind,
this shit is heavenly & savory in the worst way, don’t forget
strips of kaya toast, delightful streaks, smothering me in
streams of earthiness, your cream in my crepe, food of Gods,
against the order of nature, genitalia generating discomfort,
democratic elections & peaceful transition of power. You
with your arched back, unapologetic posture, clouds coil &
surge, the natives die, pato, pixie, 禽兽不如,
say what you want, puto sucios, Antonin Scalia retire
bitch, with you I’m cute & helpless, 小鸟依人,
you convince me with your 花言巧语,
I know you’re insincere, but we’ll deal with that later, needy
sick man of Asia, in truth I need you like a hole in the head,
for now / we’re contorted like fantastic beasts / please /
leave / I was wrong / please / stay / please / leave / I
wanted nothing / I was / wrong / please / stay / leave / stay
/ at peace / exhausted / spent / waiting at Changi / flight
back to reality / we’re not in Kansas anymore ///

MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) is a Lambda Literary fellow and was awarded the Kundiman Scholarship at the Miami Writers Institute. A finalist in contests at the Iowa Review, BOMB, NightBlock, & many others, their poems have been nominated for Best of the Net. Their manuscript <big shot manifesto> was selected by Rae Armantrout as a finalist for the Fonograf Editions Open Genre Book Prize.

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