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Well versed: Chris’ disconnection

To celebrate National Poetry Day, Confetti asked the writers of Capital‘s poetry column, Re-Verse, to share one of their own poems.

By Chris Tse

Let me put the Chi in Chinese—far-flung
light that knows its own name in search of
a place to land.

Each hesitation is enough to remind me
I’m more likely the sin in Sino—a model
son missing a piece or two

much like the sky in every jigsaw puzzle.
Or maybe I’m the shameful No—no strings,
no momentum, no response, left to stand in

a dream of ruins, the imaginary what was
an approximation of what I always thought
I could return to. But I never started there,

did I? I started adrift—unwanted sericum,
a gift with purchase that’s not worth
the effort to feign desire over. I’m what

the sky never sees, here nor there. Here being
the happenstance rhyme I find myself repeating.
There being my need to see and know, slipping.

   Chris Tse 

Chris says, ‘I started writing this poem earlier this year as a response to my growing anxiety about how further disconnected I feel from my ancestral roots. The poem has taken on a new meaning for me since the pro-democracy protests began in Hong Kong, which is where my Dad was born and raised. The protests have prompted me to reclaim the part of me that has been slipping away all these years.’

Chris Tse is the author of two collections of poetry published by Auckland University Press: How to be Dead in a Year of Snakes (winner of the Jessie Mackay Award for Best First Book of Poetry) and HE’S SO MASC. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Best New Zealand Poems 2018Queen Mob’s Teahouse: Teh Book (Dostoyevsky Wannabe, 2019), Peril Magazine, and Sport. Chris and Emma Barnes are currently co-editing an anthology of contemporary LGBTQIA+ Aotearoa New Zealand writers.

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