new year ’75, leeds, by Arthur Yap

23 April 2013

Leeds has been in the literary news this week. I’ve also spent some time there recently, and it came up in my reading of Arthur Yap – the last of the volumes of poetry I picked up on my Singaporean visit last summer. This seems like enough of a conjunction to post this poem. Coming a generation before, Yap has poems dedicated to him by a number of the Singaporean poets I’ve featured on this blog: the first line certainly wouldn’t be out of place in a quietly affecting poem by Yong Shu Hoong, for example. If Arthur Yap is the last Singaporean poet I have for now, any ideas on which I should pick up next?


we wandered into a new year, as if by error.
at the chinese restaurant, my vietnamese friend & i,
the only asians, ordered 2 bowls of noodles.
the waiters served graces & teeming dishes
& the good laodiceans smiled warmly & scrutably.
our noodles finally arrived,
steaming under a turned-up nose.
vu’s cossack-like cap still on his head,
my ears belonged once again to me in the warmth;
our cheer our tea, our leedsfraumilch 75,
kitchen-fresh vintage.

earlier, we had been to the plaza where x-rated films
are lined up each week, cheek by jowl. no psychological
reality, vu’s comment. i forget if i had a rejoinder.
leaving the restaurant for our hotels, we passed
austicks, bookshop & frequent haven from the cold,
brotherton library, one side of woodhouse moor:
all somewhat remotely outlined in a thin swirling snow.
his hotel first, half a mile more for me:
everything behind were already soft-focal —
snow, steaming noodles, celluloid close-ups,
& night’s myopia. next day, next year.

[Read in The Space of City Trees, published by Skoob.]


One Response to “new year ’75, leeds, by Arthur Yap”

  1. […] ‘neonicitinoids’. In Literaryville, meanwhile (which we now know doesn’t include Leeds), bees lead people back to Sean Borodale’s Bee Journal which garnered much praise last […]

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