These are two stunning poems by Tammy Ho Lai-Ming, the first one was originally featured in Singapore based Writers Connect and was chosen as a personal favourite of the poet. The second was first published in Sotto Voce Magazine, (Issue 1 Fall 2008) and was chosen by me purely on the grounds that I adore it. Although you should check out her site for a wider representation of how good a writer she is.
IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE PARTIALLY GUTTED i. I vow never to speak to him again.
ii. If you know what he said to me, you'll understand: Words coming out of his fingers, in the cold darkening night: "I feel nothing inside", "plaything".
You see, he sharpened his words, each a blade, ready to kill. He intensified his skills.
Maybe he's a fisherman, and I his flesh. He said as much: "I hooked your chin, and pulled you in". "My most beautiful catch."
Not only chin. Someone's mocked heart was curbed; it dangled, shivered ever so slightly on display. Do fish cry? Their tears mistaken for stubborn mist.
iii. These are no lover's rites. I vow never to open my mouth again. :::::
INVISIBLE RED CORDS
Our austere old man under the moon
binds lovers' feet
with invisible red cords.
He has no need for wings, bows or arrows.
And he walks slow.
He knows there will be love
when love is seemingly uncalled for.
In his book of single mortals,
each to each,
ask, 'How's your foot?'
'How's your foot?'
Sometimes when he's bored,
he experiments with permutations
of man and woman.
Flipping carelessly through his book,
or ignoring its pages,
he ties loose strands together.
One couple in ten thousand,
are dragged to the altar.
Pulling at their bowties and necklaces;
they feel an invisible noose
tightening around their throats,
as our austere old hangman
ties the knot.
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming is a Hong Kong born writer, now based in the UK, where she is working on her PhD thesis on neo-Victorian fiction. (Department of English, King’s College London). She previously studied at the University of Hong Kong obtaining a BA with first class honours and a Master of Philosophy, with a thesis titled "Reading Aloud and Charles Dickens's Style", an exploration of how Dickens's writing style was influenced by the period practice of reading aloud, a practice Dickens was a keen advocate of, whether publicly or in private. The thesis also discusses the interrelation between literature and linguistics (especially the concept of orality/aurality and iconicity) in prose fiction. Between 2005 – 2008, she worked as a demonstrator at the School of English, the University of Hong Kong, also working as a teacher and helping to organise various literary and academic events for the School of English and the Faculty of Arts, including a three-day international conference Hong Kong Culture: Word and Image (6-8 December 2007) for the Faculty of Arts, HKU. The conference brought together renowned local and overseas scholars who are working on the visual and cultural representations of Hong Kong. She has continued this at King's College London, helping organise events, including a cross-disciplinary discussion series entitled Creative King's (Spring 2009). She is also actively involved in the reading group, The Shows of London Nineteenth-Century Group and as an editor of the AHRC-funded journal, Victorian Network .
She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize (2008) for her poem "Elegy To A Brother Who Wrote Autobiographical Poems" (first published in Boxcar Poetry Review) and Frostwriting nominated her poem "The Famine" (first published in Quarterly Literary Review Singapore and reprinted in Frostwriting) for inclusion in Best of the Net Anthology (2009). She edited Hong Kong U Writing: An Anthology( 2006) and co-edited Love & Lust ( 2008), and was a Co-editor of Word Salad Poetry Magazine, she also served as an Assistant Poetry Editor of Sotto Voce Magazine.
She is also the founding co-editor (with Jeff Zroback) of the first Hong Kong based international online English literary journal (and all round fantastic read) Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, an editor of the India-based journal Criterion and a Contributing Photographer to THIS Literary Magazine.
I've been following Tammy (t) for a while on twitter and knew what a fine poet she was, but it’s only since I attempted to piece together this biography that I’ve come to realise how involved in the world of writing/poetry she is, she breathes, bleeds, lives poetry and on the strength of those I’ve read we are better off because of it.
Explore the links and the poetry written within. At the moment there are no books, but that is, I believe, just a matter of time and when it happens I hope she saves a copy for me.
A Conversation with Tammy Ho Lai-Ming(LR)
A Fine Cup Of Tea (The Critical Arm Of Cha:)
Cha: An Asian Literary Journal
Tammy Ho Lai-Ming
This is a poem that featured in Phantom Kangaroo
The girl whose face is in faux porcelain bowls
pomes ALL SIZES
If you have a Poem/ Poet, you admire please introduce them to me.