Titulus Crucis

December 1, 2002

This poem first appeared in Love Gathers All: The Philippines-Singapore Anthology of Love Poetry, eds. Aaron Lee, Alvin Pang, Ramón C. Sunico, and Alfred A. Yuson (Singapore and Manila: Ethos Books and Anvil Publishing, 2002).

Titulus Crucis

Letter by letter
the words come unstuck
from the spine of a history
from a continent of mind

from a big-screen encounter
with an encounter with life
where the film touches nothing
but wants nothing untouched

and our disappearing words
are the topsoil of living
and the forgotten sacrifices
are forgotten sidestepping

and love is the great mother
scapegoated by all
her house of memories burnt
her food fed on and shat

and she in her sarong
in black and white dreams
has no real duty to live
or not to live on

but slumped at a crossroad
dogeared for Golgotha
in a space between states
she too is between states

and we shall soon kill off love
and we shall soon opt for life
as we seal death in the past
in a headline or two.

Gwee Li Sui


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