New Town Poems

Photography by Anthony Ho

Temping/Public Space

A place of blinding sun, hot concrete and cold winds
Overhead conversations, grazed knees, sore feet.
Unstructured/unimpeded, zigzag wandering.
The space between steel towers
No shade, shelter, open and windswept
Yet mapped by twists of shrubbery, sculpture, fountains, stairwells.
the void between buildings
has a fleeting potential.

Open Inspection

Rooms to let
Neat, refurbished, reconditioned.
But ghosts remain
In the walls, and floors
Which absorb everything-noise, drafts, stains.
Preoccupied surfaces,
Scraped into artificial cleanliness
But down in the cracks,
Are intimate remains of old lives—
Past minute dramas-dust, hair, nail clippings.
Minute traces of solid bodies,
Dubious practices, dysfunctional narratives, vicarious joys.

Republic of Things

I am for a Republic of Things.
Ordinary things.
Having no-name or pretty label.
they are ephemeral, castaway things.

I am not for a dictatorship of more lofty merchandise,
who flaunt their name, their looks, their price-tag, and
their "too good" to use demeanour.
This tyranny of the expensive,
Has seen the ordinary
utterly debased, loose in the world, brought down
Yet in they also have been strangely liberated:
with have a freedom in numbers.


The idea of geometry attracts,
the perfect fit, hand-to-eye.
Everything in its place
Loose ends, empty space
Sucked up in a soothing slipstream
Of electric brains, little boxes
Thoughts are cross-matched, time-dissected
Sorted to bland, dangerous surgical perfection.

A Workshop for Neuropaths

Ladders lie across the floor,
Ladders leant against windows
Have the air of crippled animals or broken objects
Steep staircases go nowhere.
Can't go up quickly, can't go slowly.
Corners stand empty.
We voice the same old words
And build the same old worlds.

Hong Kong, 2002


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