Something I wrote for a reading at the close of the Singapore Biennale 2013.
Cosmology of Life, detail
After Toni Kanwa’s Cosmology of Life,
Singapore Biennale, 2013
If empty has a sound, what would it be?
There has been a sign hanging over this door
for as long as I can remember. It waits, resigned,
the way some shops are perpetually on sale,
their dusty eyes with no expiry date staring
balefully at shoppers who pass them by.
For rent, the sign speaks, in a thick steel tongue,
its prayers unvoiced as I grow older, and still, this
gnawing continues at the bustling heart of the city.
I can only imagine the unconditional summers
in the eyes of the man who laid the first brick
in this façade before it became forgotten, while
we laid down our pillowed offerings elsewhere
and promised to appear fully stocked, steering
through the solitude of a thousand ways
to fill our lives while the world turns, slow as ever.
So we consume desire in passing eyes, we drink,
in the shadowed days, the sighs of crowded hearts.
But look again, past the sign. The cosmos heralds
a thousand voices gathered around in the shape
of life. Look again, at its curving pageant, its delicate
pleasures, look how it falls in order. If empty has a
sound, it might just be the hum of possibility when we
take down the sign, and start to fill this vacancy.