Moon Fall

September 2, 1998

This poem first appeared in Gwee Li Sui’s Who Wants to Buy a Book of Poems? (1998) and reappeared in Who Wants to Buy an Expanded Edition of a Book of Poems? (2015). It is also featured in Rhythms: The Millennium Anthology of Singapore Poetry (2000), where it is translated into Chinese, Malay, and Tamil, and on Postcolonial Web.

moonfall

Moon Fall

Drunk on a boat
in the cool night
Li Po touched the moon
with a hand
and drowned
and became the maroon
of ink slab beneath
the ink, ripple
of the pre-word,
a great Chinese myth.

Armstrong, in a ship
in the night, spacedrunk,
touched the moon with a foot
and, returning,
became
renowned with his loot,
escaping the arrest
of a certain
mortality,
a myth for the West.

One moon and two reflexes,
one entity that teaches
us to celebrate different heroes —

So who coined the lame
notion that East
and West are the same
when colour is the least
of divides?

Gwee Li Sui

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