Written for Waiting At A Stopped Clock, a pop-up poetry reading held at 71 Rowell Road, Wonder Wash Laundromat on 7th August 2015, where the clock has stopped at 9.37.
Spin Cycle Meditations
Laundromats are always shiny. Like whitewashed walls bereft of the identity of graffiti, a blank page proposition of what you might become if you spin long enough. And if you come at the right time, you can stop the clock to pick up a date, finish a novel, or conduct a clandestine conversation with someone who might be a spy.
Next to Chinatown complex, parallel to Smith street, there is a laundromat; metallic and cold, unlike the clay crockery and Taoist offering shops that flank it. It stands with its rows of eyes, a bulging panopticon, swallowing a thousand dirty stories, spitting out clean, state-approved versions; softened and sanctified, darks separated from whites.
There are two old men arguing in a Bukit Merah wonder wash laundromat. As good morning towels churn slowly behind them, their words thicken with Tiger, full of old-fashioned expletives, wet with the rain. There is no one to hand out change here. Perhaps an altar would work better. Prayers to the god of pre-shrunk hopes.
The laundromat in Hualien, Taiwan has a photograph of a sexy white woman on the dish-washing powder box, but she’s not wearing enough to show how white her clothes are. Anyhow, the machine ate all our coins and didn’t spit out a return. Maybe we weren’t white enough to begin with.
A very large man stands in a Penang laundromat all by himself. He stares at the spinning drum like a roulette wheel, or some time-sharing kaleidoscope. Past midnight, when the lint drifts around like a broken snow-globe, he will read his future in the way clothes crumple to the floor, a tea leaf testimony of t-shirts.
I’ve just come back from Daiso.
I ignored the photo frames, the bow ties, the dog biscuits,
I went straight to the cheap DIY poems,
because even the price of words has gone up these days.
I wanted to try making a poem by myself, you know, the Ikea experience,
instead of getting a professional poet to come and install words for me.
You would think that even a $1.99 poem should come with an instruction manual,
a cheat-sheet for suggested end rhymes, some quick-start ideas or even a sample poem.
For $1.99 all you get is a blank piece of paper, a pencil and 4 small cards.
I turn them over, and one says
one more says
Poetic Device: Personification
and the last one is a picture of a sock.
I look in the packet for something else… a quote maybe, or an auto-complete button…
So I start thinking why socks don’t often come in black and white,
why bright colors on socks generally make your day walk by better.
I remember how socks keep your feet warm, unflustered and blister-free
I remember never to pair white sport socks with black pants.
Perhaps, I could use my poetic device to give the sock feelings of heroism
when it fulfills its stoic duty in spite of toenails threatening to punch holes in it,
how it gets bullied in the washing machine by more elegant work socks,
or smiles in quiet triumph when it gets picked to go out on weekends.
But look, it’s just one sock, and not two.
Are single socks more fashionable these days?
Maybe this sock likes to go DIY,
but a single sock getting a foot job might send it to a sticky end.
Or maybe someone else has another DIY poem kit with my matching sock,
and is writing a poem about how their single sock will find my single sock
and pair up, because… (cue killer last line)
they’re not single, they’re just waiting.Read More
photo credit Fabiano Campos
The following poem is made up entirely of lines from songs by Britney Spears. You have been warned.
The Found Poetry of Britney Spears
My loneliness is killin’ me
Here we are with nothing but honesty
E-mail my heart
And say our love will never die
‘Cause the girl in my mirror
Is crying out tonight
Oh baby baby if you seek Amy tonight
Oh baby baby we’ll do whatever you like
If you wanna mess with my eyesight,
Just let me get my head right
Where the hell am I?
I killed the lights, the lights, the lights
I’m into myself in the most precious way
No more tears to dry
You and I, we’re like so “bye-bye”
I’ve heard it all before and I-E-I-E-I
I’m a slaaaaaaaaaaave for you
Tell me, i’m not in the blue
That i’m not wastin, my feelings on you
Open that soda pop, bop-a shu-bop shu-bop
photo credit Steven I
Pull up to my bumper
Watch me apply the pressure,
all decked in lace and leather
just like a circus
Am I too hot for you though
Did you check out my video
Hooked up with a guy named Joe
When the music was fast and slow
I’m cold as fire, baby
Hot as ice
When I crack that whip, everybody gon’ trip
Take it off
I used to think
I had the answers to everything
But now I know
Your body gives
But then holds back
The sun is bright
The sky is black
Stronger than yesterday
I played with your heart,
got lost in the game
Oops!…I did it again
photo credit April ERead More