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  Chris Mooney-Singh is the founder of Poetry Slam(tm) in Singapore. Of Australian Irish descent related to Ned Kelly, Australia's best know bushranger, he adopted Sikhism in 1989, He has also published 2 poetry joint collections, 2 chapbooks, co-edited a poetry anthology - The Penguin Book of Christmas Poems and has 3 spoken word CDs, the latest being 'Living in the Land of the Durian Eaters' . Mooney-Singh also has poems published online at Mindfire, Cezannes Carrot, Stylus, Umbrella Journal, Simply Haiku, Ghazalpage and Quarterly Review of Literature, Singapore (QRLS). His next collection The Happy Buddha Cab Company will be published in Dec 2007. Mooney-Singh was a guest at the Austin International Poetry Festival, 2003, the Hong Kong Writers Festival, 2004 and the Kuala Lumpur Lit Festival (2007).

As Programme Director of Word Forward, a literary arts company teaching
poetry and performance in schools he has performed his poetry and taught the
art of writing and performing poetry to thousands of Singaporean students.


Fall 2007

Table of Contents - Vol. III, No. 3

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews


Chris Mooney-Singh


When I Drive a Cab

I bow before the booking god
and press the touch screen with a prayer.

I am the original taxi genie -
your destination is my command.

As your confidant and confessor,
my views shift with the traffic lights.

I am deaf and dumb as couples slash
each other with their shards of words.

The palace eunuch, I am aloof
to the late night, back-seat porn show.

I steer an urban chariot of fire
and burn through the red lights district.

I am the failed-in-trade, or the down-sized
factory cog – unscrewed from the slick wheel.

In this life, I now practice detachment -
a bevy of strangers at my back.

A seer of this revelation window,
I study the best and worst of my city.

Yes, I - the ferryman and will take you down
the black river that has no water.


Illusion Management For Beginners

Our taxi slips on through the city
that's tall as stacks of cards.
I'll take my flimsy deck and make
a Chinese fan, then fold it.
Please cut and think of any number,
then keep it in your mind.

For you, I'll fancy-shuffle:
I'll manipulate the cards,
close my eyes, touch my forehead
like a psychic tuning in, and next -
voila! reveal your card and see
how amazement dances like love-hearts
around your red cheeks and wow!
I think I've made it to The Second Date.
Take my clumsy kiss...

Why give your cheek and not your lips?
Yes, I am unrehearsed, yet for you
I’d do a late, late show.
Let’s get down beneath your block.
I have this levitation trick.
Look! see me rise up like a mystic.
I cannot tell just how I put
one foot unseen upon the other
and the sly lift that looks like floating.

Do I astonish, make you gasp,
balancing impressions, shuffling
personas, calculating life-moves
through sleight of mind? I know
you have to leave, but wait -
give me a sign. Can we
hook up on Saturday?

No? You're busy, huh.

Goodbye, I'll let the darkness
take you, and for now street magic
will have to do. I hope you liked my show.
It is the art of keeping secret
the whole sad truth about myself.


Mr Chen Takes a Cab from the Bird Singing Contest

Today my special merbok sang
from the bamboo cage with ivory.

Hung on a pole six metres high
were fifty other zebra doves.

My friend, Amir, says merboks sing
like imams reading from Koran.

For four sweet hours, his fine grey face
sang aoh koh koh koh koh, and won!

I have trained merboks for twenty years
each Sunday underneath the block.

I hang young ones beside my stars,
so they will catch the art, while we

play chess and drink grass jelly tea.
My father taught me all I know –

said: go to Thailand for your birds.
How many birds? I’ve got a lot…

I am a bachelor after all -
There’d be no room for wife and kids.

So you got two? Eh - not so bad.
My ten birds keep me on my toes.


Chris Mooney-Singh

Poetry    Translations    Interview    Essays    Fiction    Book Notes & Reviews


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