the2ndrule.comFeb 2002

0. Editorial
1. Stopped
2. Oblivion (for Cyril)
3. Ann Siang Hill
4. Untitled
5. Waterlights
6. MAYBE (for Adrian)
7. Anthem
8. Interview with Alvin Pang about Ethos Books' Love Gathers All anthology.
9. Purple II
10. Instant Cafe Episode 3


Welcome to February, the month of Valentines and a more deliberate holding of hands. Just for tonight, here is love in the unsung key of G. Repeat the following words: gay, lesbian, homosexual, faggot, dyke etc. Let's talk about homophobia. Let's simply talk about fear. Do you guess why the homosexual may just be the most homophobic person of all? Fear to frustration to hate, self-hatred. Translate this and what you get is three times a week at the gym. Strapping your breasts down with tape, as if it were possible forget them.

Every gay first longed to be straight. Gays love the word straight-acting. To act straight is to go into drag, to come closest to what you can never be. Campiness is a ruse, a disguise, a weak patina. When a wo/man loves another wo/man, does the gender dichotomy exist still? Who does not know what it is like to not like who you are? What does Sodom and Gomorrah have to do with this? When you love anyone - like, say, your best friend - and the verb you use is LOVE,
at what point does friendship stop and another, more unspeakable intimacy begin? Ignorance may be bliss, but only for the one who chooses not to know.

We invite you to send us your films, graphics, audio and flash. And of course your writing as well.
Cyril Wong (guest editor)


Hey there sexy thang!

What do you do with your weekends?

Come join us!

Callie and Sara


Livid Room Productions presents...

Stop Kiss by Diana Son

::Unexpected love, from pensive to playful

::Directed by Mark Richmond, starring Esther Yap, Adelina Ong, Beatrice
Chia, Chua Enlai and Brendon Marc Fernandez

21-24 March 2002
28-31 March 2002 (extended run)
Toy Factory, 17A Smith Street

$20, $18 (students)

For tickets, please email :: lividroom@hotmail.com ::
fax 2584015 or call 98752598

:: http://www.muttflush.com/stopkiss ::

All Stop Kiss ticket holders get FREE entry on Friday nights at dbl O

This play contains adult themes which are unsuitable for children

Sponsored by Lee Foundation, ZoCards and ARTS fund; make-up by MAC


Because what I recovered
is a Moebius argument
turned in on itself
- one-sided; a reflection
in clear water
with an echo in my ear,
the first tune
a ravageable hymn
shorthanded by pauses
while a leaf, red-stalked, floats
as a webbed limb
that has forgotten how to swim.
Jason Wee

It may be different for gay women, but I think as a whole, gay men are very fucked up about looks.
Sandra Bernhard
(for Cyril)

My lover dresses like a man. In bed, it is like when actors disappear into their roles. It is the disappearing that I love. That's why I can say I love my lover. She makes me go out of existence, then back again.She does not let me touch her in the same places. But she touches me to oblivion. She calls herself Derek. To me, I tell her, you are like a purer kind of man. She does not understand me, but holds me anyway when I ask her to. She dreams of us getting married, and describes the gown I will wear to the altar. I imagine its whiteness like a beautiful void.

What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.
Susan Sontag
Ann Siang Hill

If you strain hard enough,
Your ear begins to trace

A moan or the sound
Of somebody coming.

Shadows stretch in parallel lines
Across the road, reach

Like snails up into our shirts,
Rub wetly against our stomachs.

Visions cross like wires
On a bridge of invisible

Fire, that is the negative
Of this permanent night.

Not many ang-mohs
Come here. That guy

Looks like he's from China:
Too fair, without the dirty tan

Of most Singaporean men. And walks
Like he's only passing through -

The shirt pausing at his navel,
Line of flesh above the elastic

Mouth of shorts
Sucking at his pelvis.

Forgive me if you are
Unable to catch up,

Forgive me these firecracker
Spokes of wrinkles from my eyes,

This loosening sack of my belly.
I've nothing against your hard,

Pubescent body, only how I
Looked like you once and don't.

Isn't the same boy. But cuter,
Deliciously straight-

Acting. Gives me a false name
Probably. One stroke of

His thigh and he's hard as a

We grope along some staircase
Down his jeans.

Another guy - smoke in one hand,
My ass in the other - joins in.

Then another. That last guy
Looks like my PE teacher from JC.

The courtyard is a chessboard
With silhouettes for pieces.

There stands a King but really
A Queen. Manly Knight

Kneels before Bishop with
Golden crucifix on his collar.

But all are pawns in the end:
Always checkmate, never soulmate.

Wonder what my wife is doing now.
Some poet wrote about this place.

Read it when I was in Uni.
Around here, a gay bar stands

Humming to its blue around the corner.
Remember a muscled kid I masturbated

Once behind that alley. Two years older
Than my son now, I think. Realize

How it isn't very crowded for a Saturday;
A few shadows swooning over a wall,

A hairline glint of someone's spectacles,
White shirtsleeves gracing dark biceps.

As a child, I thought trees could love
And love me back. When the truth came

Out, that tree outside my room window
Became a father.

Now, as some guy runs his tongue
Up the inside of my thigh, I

Don't know why I remember that tree,
Feel as the saint in that painting,

Arrows raying from his body
Splintered against a tree, gazing

Upwards at the unblinking stars
Of a different father's eyes.

Trust you to jokingly suggest
This place for our date

Remember when you first flung
Your hook into the deep pond

Of my vision, how then
You led me to behind a bush

And clung on to my head for
Fear of drowning, your dick

Rattling in my skull like a key
Inside a lock, as we came

Close to that numbness
We keep calling love

For always that lack
Of a better word.

Cyril Wong

We reject the forcible attempts of straight society to define and thereby limit the human experience.
Les Petites Bonbons

Future Ex: What's your name -
Boy: a-a-a-a-a . . . nevermind, I'm stuttering too bad to pronounce it. You'll forget it in your sleep anyway. (manly handshake)
F X: Little did we know that me pressing my cock against your ass when you were leaned up against the bar ordering me too many Long Island iced teas would lead to me feeling your pulse inside you when we were making love. Is it a universal symbol of aggression and colonialism -
Boy: Or am I just happy to see you?
F X: Am I hurting you?
Boy: You don't care.

(Michael Jackson's "Remember the Time" plays:
"Do you remember the time
When we fell in love
Do you remember the time
When we first met
Do you remember the time
When we fell in love
Do you remember the time")

(They sit on the floor, legs touching)

F X: Do you remember that time?
Boy: I wasn't in love with you, I just told you that so you wouldn't feel on the spot after you said it.
F X: I was inside you.
GWM(Gay White male): You go.
Boy: You hurt me. I miss it. It was a lot of things to me.
F X: That tear fell directly from my eye into yours. It was our last time
together. What things was it to you?
Boy: I don't know. Love or something, I guess. What everyone wants.
F X: It was love partly for me, as well as other things.
GWM : Work it.
Boy: And what is that?
F X: You know.
Boy: No, what is it?
F X: You must know how it is to be filled with yearning.
GWM (campy): Oh Mary!
Boy (closes legs so that he is sitting "Indian" style, huddles): And what exactly do you yearn for?


Check out other such extracts at :: www.dantewoo.com ::
Dante Woo

To write about homosexual practices without dealing with anal intercourse would be equivalent to writing a history of music and omitting Mozart.
Ronald Hawkins

(Based on the story of Madam White Snake, rendered from the perspective of Green Snake)

I appeared in the story only because you
wanted me to. It was your pale hands
that lifted me, a whip of emerald,
from the marketplace basket, and it was your words
that writhed out a soul from my shine-crusted body.
So there I was, to the world something between
your friend and a maid. He tended
towards the former; he was nice, that husband
of yours. I remember the rain when we
first saw him - it lanced silver across your cheek
while I cried out in spite of myself, isn't he the one?
You just smiled, holding his hand as you
stepped lightly onto the boat.
That, I tell people, is how it began -
love at first sight, silver flashing down your face
while I (everyone laughs here) vomited into
the spangles on the water.

It was never explained to him why I moved
into his new home - I was just the giveaway
that had to be accepted with the amazing deal.
We got along in the end, and there was always
three of us at important events -
your child's birth, the shop's opening
and the inconvenient business you try not to remember.
But there was only me through the years
of perfecting my dance of death for you.
It was a rain of silver blades that I lived ten years in,
that quivered your pagoda-prison
into a thousand glittering shards. We won, of course. Now
it's difficult at New Year visits; I ignore
your rhapsodies on family life
and the bachelors you invite to dinner. Now
your child thinks I'm his aunt; he pesters me
for stories of your life, but only my eyes
(when the tears melt him into your image)
tell him what you have forgotten:

Your face darted among the swords
like a river's shifting light and we danced
in a rain of silver for the last time
together. Darling, I would have died for you
but I never had the luck.
Teng Qian Xi

Between women...caresses are intended less to gain possession of the other than gradually to re-create the self through her.
Simone de Beauvoir
(for Adrian)

At the door, I place my sandals in a family of shoes.
The CDs in your room are a thousand wet tongues;
one of them a sad alto. Undressing, I slide along
your body like his voice. Slowly, you brandish your sex
like a proud fist. I guide it down the throat - haunches
parting like two chambers of a heart for you. I feel
I am born for this unnatural beauty - to anger
your sex, to tire, make you fall on my breastbone
the whole night like the purest calm. Cold dawn.
You wake up to enter me again. This time - five, ten,
fifteen minutes as daylight advances penetrating
the pores of curtain. Like my mother who
pained so that I would be complete. Nine months
and the throbbing flesh left her deep body.
Jeremy Lim

The lover is a friend inspired by God.

One day we will learn to love ourselves.
The fat ones will stop dreaming of chubchasers,
those fauns who hang from love-handles.
The skinny ones will dare to wear tight tops.
The old ones will stop claiming they look
at least five years younger, over telephones.
The young ones will walk into pubs and
not feel the need to be needy.
We will learn that muscles are like doorknobs
that hint nothing about empty rooms.
We will learn that a big cock is a miracle,
but only of hydraulics.
Just because a body has been pierced,
tanned, or landscaped with tough flesh
does not make it an armour.
Just because a body has not been touched
does not mean it is eager for lessons.
When two people kiss there is the possibility
of love, not its confirmation.
When three people kiss there will always
be one who feels left out.
When two strangers fuck the healing
they do is the unstitching of old wounds.
One day the closeted boy jacking off in his bed
will know that guilt and shame are just
the body's fatigue at hollering to a world that is deaf.
One day someone will walk up
to the paunchy white man at the party
and genuinely ask what his name tag stands for,
GWM4LTR, worn like a prison code.
At Raffles Place the shophouses will catch fire
and expel the smell of catpiss, and rotting beams.
The shadows of men will grow tall in such an inferno.
Loners will stay back at Fort Road for sunrise,
even if rays will illuminate pockmarks and scars.
In broad daylight two men holding hands
will mean nothing, but a symptom of daylight.

Homosexuals can change
a church banner
Interview with Alvin Pang about
Ethos Books' Love Gathers All anthology.

CW (Cyril Wong): Why "Love Gathers All"? Personally, I think the title says nothing. Cliched at best.

AP (Alvin Pang): That one you have to ask Aaron since the title was decided on in my absence. But I have no objection to it....its a generic title which does at least highlight the bilateral nature of the anthology...the idea that all kinds of love, from two different cultures, are gathered in this one book. There are worse ways to go.

CW: Do you think every variation of love - from GAY to straight love, friendship to filial to R & J love - is given a fair spotlight in the anthology? How erotic do the poems dare to get?

AP: Actually we do have a fair spread (although if you insists on a word/poem count you can always find fault in one category or another) of different expressions of love... from family to abstract to maternal/paternal to GAY, straight, first, unrequited, consummated, broken, agape love, from the first kiss to the last goodbye. If anything, I'd say the more overtly GAY poems outnumber the explicitly hetereo ones, esp in the erotic section, for reasons unknown. Mebbe GAY lovers make better poets. Or more daring ones. And they can get rather deliciously vivid. It'll be a bit of a jolt to our normally rather staid/asexual literary scene. Erotic poetry is already old hat to the Filippinos of course. Rated (Artistic) would be a good description.

CW: How did the Filipino writers get involved in this project?

AP: It was a joint project from the start. During our visit to Manila in Jan 2001, our host poet Alfred Yuson suggested a joint book project to seal the newfound ties between the two literary scenes. And a 2nd anthology was vaguely at the back of our minds so we thought this would be a good time to do it. We settled on Love poetry coz it would be a conveniently universal theme bridging both cultures. The proof: the love poetry we read (esp. Felix Cheong's) at various schools in Manila went down quite well, with a high swoon count. And our Filippino hosts were quite eager to reel off their erotic verse. We knew it'd be our best chance of a hit.

CW: How will the majority of Singapore respond to such an anthology? Or will this book only disappear, like all other local poetry collections, from the shelves to hide in libraries or the generous shelf-space of Select bookstores?

AP: Really, we're pitching it as a book that's more accessible and with more broad appeal than any other anthology produced here. After all it's about love - the most popular and populist subject for poetry. So we hope it will do well and help bring poetry back to the people. But I think there's also enough meat in there to satisfy the word-lust of academic scholars. We had to strike a balance between accessible verse and "deep" verse, but I think even the more easy-reading pieces have some literary merit, so we're not watering it down in terms of quality.

And not forgetting that the book is meant to sell in Singapore but also Manila and even the US, where the market for verse is much bigger.

I think Singaporeans will be pleasantly surprised that their own writers tackle love poetry and what's more, indulge in erotic verse. A few heads will turn when they see among them a couple of names not normally asssociated with eroticism... shhhh...

NO OTHER CITY has done quite well, all things considering, and is still selling and making its impact in universities here and abroad, and among the poetry reading crowd. LOVE GATHERS ALL is prob the most accessible verse volume yet, and in many ways, I hope it will remind Singaporeans that they too have a capacity to long, lose, lust and love. I think there'll be something in it for folks of all stripes and flavours. (If nothing else, the erotic section is worth the price of the book!)

Love always involves a question; only the asking counts.
Purple II

Read the conclusion of this children's comic.

Yvonne Tham

"There are women soldiers and I think women like the opportunity to talk to another woman... Also, because of that whole macho thing men often open up more to a woman than another man."
Curate Juliette Hulme, the first female chaplain of the British Army

Bert and Ernie.

Stopped © 2002 Jason Wee
Oblivion (for Cyril) © 2002 Synthia
Ann Siang Hill © 2002 Cyril Wong
Untitled © 2002 Dante Woo
Waterlights © 2002 Teng Qian Xi
MAYBE (for Adrian) © 2002 Jeremy Lim
Anthem © 2002 TIM
Interview with Alvin Pang about Ethos Books' Love Gathers All anthology. © 2002
Purple II © 2002 Yvonne Tham
Instant Cafe Episode 3 © 2002 Koh Beng Liang

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