Friday, February 18, 2011

Walking Distance (Poem)

Walking Distance
A poem by Tania De Rozario

Above: Newly weds who tie their dog up
for hours on end. I can hear it crying
day in and out just above my kitchen
as I do my dishes religiously.
Across : A woman beats her child
to tears because she pulls a face
upon being delivered like a weekly digest
to lessons in piano / ballet / drawing / French / abacus / speech
and drama : Tick where appropriate,
like you do with ethnicity and choice of schools
(all newly-built, well-ranked, value-added
and walking distance from the MRT).

I can hear the man who comes back from work
at 6.33, demanding his tea be hot by the time
he comes out of the shower. I hear the kettle
blow its temper ten minutes later as I fill up surveys
for companies who pay me fifty a piece
because they think I'm creative and articulate.
Across the street : Large vinyl signboards
prostituting brand new condominiums,
all devoid of inhabitants and less importantly,
soul, looking for people who are looking to better
their standards of existing, dying, and procreating
within walking distance of the MRT.

Downstairs: Cats grown crafty from rumours
of culling, patrol corners sneaking glances
at the man who rants to an invisible audience
about the government, the price of housing
and a time when bus-rides were practically free.
Upstairs: A writer grows desperate with rage
pondering the years she's minced her language
into verbs and nouns all mispronounced
and strung into sentences without conjunctions
simply to facilitate the buying of rice
in stores all small and family-owned
all walking distance from the MRT.