Felix Deng

Contributor Biography

Felix Deng isn’t actually a poet; that is why he has neither a proper biography nor a long list of publications and achievements to his name. But he does, in his free time, write what he considers to be poetry. Through this medium, he hopes to share with others tiny fragments of the way he views the world. Felix is proud to be part of the writing collective ZeroSleep.

journeyman

his fingers, once nimble and quick, now
suffer from an old injury; knife and fork
tremble ever so slightly in his grip. the table

is set to the nines; wood creaking with
the weight of the harvest. his companions fall
upon the feast, and soon there is chatter

echoing all around him. he grasps
at the threads of conversation
that they send his way—but too much

hard labour has dulled his wit; solitude
has robbed him of his tongue. they sense so, and
they are kind—but then, kindness is pity

and his pride does not stand for it. instead
he turns inward, taking comfort in a familiar
numbness radiating from his arm—the first signs

of having taken to the drink now worn
like a badge of honour; at once a remnant
of old folly and distant youth. strange,

that he would leave the feast
hungrier than before it began

 

elegy to the living

do not set aside flowers for the dead
nor well wishes for those going away—
the living have a greater need than they
could ever claim to have. for it is said:
the dead do not suffer in the absence
of the living. they have no hearts to grow
fonder with time; they have no flesh to know
the loneliness of empty beds.
                                                 silence
remains the last bastion we cling on to—
as if through our spoken words, the spectres
they leave behind would somehow be unmade.
sorrow stands vigil and in doing so
imparts clarity: the dead die but once
the living die a hundred times over

Kemlyn Tan Bappe

Contributor Biography

Kemlyn Tan Bappe, a native of Singapore, is an artist, writer and a special education teacher living in Phoenix, Arizona. “This project hits hard. I still search for words.” She holds a BA in Studio Art, MDIV Theology, and a MA in Special Education. 

tonight

(recounting 7:42 pm, october 26, 2019, peoria, arizona)

tonight   i am  victim    a statistic
walmart lot    teen snatches my purse   husband yells
he reaches for my bag   kid   shoves him away
he falls to the ground   behind the speeding car
i chase   i stare     his face under    baseball cap
black sweater   grey shirt   black grey shoes    black sweat pants

so young could have been one of my high school kids
light blue car    witness says nissan?   c-e-v
no one sees    rest of license plate    car speeds off
peels away    heads east on peoria  cameras?
witnesses    family of three stays with us
husband calls 9-1-1   officers arrive
patrol cars   four   five   six    crime scene   interview

witnesses    checking cameras    just state the facts

sorry   faulty cameras     blur    license plate
can't recall   my apple id   find my phone
fails    battery low    lost last chances    find thieves

rage boiling   bile burning  i can’t swallow this
home invasion     three totaled cars now we’re robbed

i hate this place    i wish we were somewhere else

iowa  singapore    any place   but here
it's not fair    i know crime happens everywhere
just for a moment    let’s vanish     disappear
oh my god   my son is at home what if they
officer calls glendale pd   we call him
no answer    police knocks on door    no answer

they report    he has headphones on     in his room
he is safe    we need to hurry back to him
no way home     both sets of keys were in the purse

officer    gets permission to transport us
back to home    we use lockbox key to get in
locate the apple id for officer
i receive victim's rights brochure    case report

number   call number    call numbers     call numbers

to the banks    cancel credit cards   debit cards
tow both cars    one from parking lot    other    home

find locksmith to rekey eight locks    we can't wait

secure home    secure our assets​ ​   it's too late

they have charged eight dollars at a circle k

husband hurts    honey stop calling   you're in pain

call a lyft    to emergency room hurry
he's alone     i stay home distressed to secure
borrowing son's phone to make calls to contact
tow truck comes    same time as locksmith   neighbors watch

talented tow truck driver moves car sans key
deliver to car dealership on monday
my locksmith   adeptly rekeys our eight locks
hubby calls   no broken bones but bad bruising
shots and pills    prescribed and taken   they stole meds

epi-pen   asthma inhaler      must replace
glad i used my dutch rewards card this week
doorbell rings   my heart jumps    i check   my hubby
he is home  safe and secure   i take deep breaths
paw paw cream   ice packs  ibuprofen  eyes close
he now sleeps    i wide awake   paralysis
action steps    message family    overseas
i have to write    to process    to get unstuck
we survive a strong armed robbery tonight