[the poetry billboard] - 'Ann Siang Hill' by Cyril Wong
Ann Siang Hill

Cyril Wong

I slip into a deserted shophouse
like a ghost. My ear
begins to trace
a moan
or the sound of somebody

up from behind me,
his footsteps
matching the muted
drumbeat under my chest.

I stop.
He pauses,
then begins again.
And stops, his breath
louder now.

He waits.

A few men
turn to watch us,
their eyes
sudden stars.

Not many ang-mohs come here.

That guy looks like he's from China: Too fair,
without the dirty tan

of Singaporean men like me. And walks
like he's only passing through -

shirt pausing at his navel, belt of flesh
above the elastic mouth of shorts
sucking at his pelvis.

Forgive me
if you are unable to catch up.

Forgive me
these firecracker spokes
of wrinkles from my eyes, this loosening
sack of my belly. I have nothing

against your hard,
pubescent body, except that I
looked like you once
and don't.

How I long for a lean man.
Who is to say I do not deserve one?

I will not let another
chub come near, starved
for angular symmetry
in a face, a body
buttoned all the way
up with muscle and bound
by ropes of stark veins.

Maybe a chub-
chaser is waiting at the end of this
tapered alleyway of shadow
long as an outstretched arm
of a beautiful slim piece of man
willing to slide his hands
lovingly along the fat of me,

the much of me there is to love.

the same boy.
Cuter, more straight-

One stroke
of his thigh and he is
stiff as a stick-shift.
We grope

along some staircase
down his jeans.

Another guy -
cigarette in one hand,
my ass in the other -

joins in. Then another.
I think the last guy
was my P.E. teacher from JC.

Wonder what my wife is doing now.

Around here, a gay bar
hums to its blue around the corner.

Shadows reach in parallel lines
across the road, slide
wetly up along my stomach.

a muscled kid I masturbated once
behind that alley. Two years
older than my son now.

Not very crowded for a Saturday.
Few shadows swooning over a wall.

Hairline glint of someone's spectacles.

White shirtsleeves gracing dark biceps.

The courtyard is a chessboard
with silhouettes for pieces.

Visions cross like live wires in the dark.

There stands a King but
really a Queen.

Manly Knight kneels before Bishop,
gold crucifix hanging off his collar.

All are pawns in the end: always
checkmate, never soulmate.

As a child, I thought trees
could love
and love me back.

When the truth came
out, that tree
outside my window
became a father.

Now, as a tongue
shivers up my neck, I
don't know why I remember that tree.

I feel like the saint in that painting,
his body splintered against a tree,
arrows raying from his ribs, while

gazing up at the unblinking stars
of a different father's eyes.

Remember where we first met?
Our first date behind the bushes,
your wild hands
clinging on to my head, like a buoy
on a wild ocean, as if terrified
of drowning,

while your dick
was a clapper
within the bell of my skull,
shuddering, filling it
with waves of a pure white ringing
I call love
for always that lack
of a better word.