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Crispin Rodrigues

Contributor Biography

Crispin Rodrigues is a poet, short story writer and essayist. He is the author of three collections of poems, Pantomime, The Nomad Principle and How Now Blown Crow, which were published by Math Paper Press. His poems, short stories and creative non-fiction have been featured in Kepulauan (2014), A Luxury We Must Afford 

(2016) and Eunoia Review, among others. You can follow his book reviews on Instagram at @crispinreviewsstuff.

i shouldn't be embarrassed by this poem but i am

poetry tells you it comes from the heart,

meaning you can bitch about it all you like.

all the colour issues, all the skin issues,

all the unpurged mommy & daddy issues.


a student asked me the other day

if i was afraid my parents would see the poems

i wrote about them & i was told

that they were giving it away to relatives for their coffee tables.


what i don't say is that i still feel the fear

of saying bad things. the bible says thou shalt

honour thy mother and father & i still dream

that i'm heading to hell after these poems.


or at least some part of me will linger there.

then when the time comes & god decides

i won't go up a full person, & maybe i won't

see mom or dad or my sis or my dog.


the chinese believe in the word 孝顺,

a word so obscure in the english language

they had to make up the term filial piety

just so white people could remember the fourth commandment.


孝顺 [noun]: i am sorry for giving birth to pages instead of children. hopefully they might carry you when you're older, e.g. if i turn my poems into a papier-mâché bed, hopefully it'll have enough filial piety to support an old person's bones.


Why did you love her?

Because I could,

because I loved her in honesty,

not failing a lie detector test,

not throwing salt over my shoulder

on a Friday night with only fish.


Why did she love you?

You were steady

as a statue of someone great

like John Whats-his-name— 

mellow in a morning of evaporated dew

under the lawnmower’s grip.


How did you know it was love?

It had to be at first sight

(these are prescription glasses)

for I remember conjunctions like in

carried weight like mud somewhat,

I am stuck now vs. I am stuck in the now.


When did you first meet?

The complex process of causation and subsequent… 

hello? hello? it’s me again, from the time…

a quasi-séance of summoning followed

by a ritual of substantive properties—

why have you forsaken me?


Are you happy with each other?

The process of transubstantiation is

one of belief, meaning one has to believe

one is happy, not two on a Sunday morning

waking to the sound of thunder.


Have you multiplied in love for one another?

In true essence we have multiplied twofold

like the proofing of bread, which is just air—

it has always been that two occupied this garden

though sources say otherwise, otherwise in and

of itself we have been more than just air.


Go in the Grace of God.

See! A conjunction again! Truly, we’ve been blessed

in the hour of the night where grace might be in a sock

containing my father’s bones and mother’s ashes

where it is best kept hidden.

In your hands I commend our spirit. A –

Nicole Emma Low

Contributor Biography

Nicole Emma Low is a philosophy graduate from NTU. She likes the colour blue, having friends over for tea and finding vending machines in unlikely places. She dislikes chocolate, wilful ignorance and people who are not openminded. Having lived around the world and with ADHD, she aspires to one day put out her own collection of poems sharing her experiences and perspectives. 

lacuna; or the shadow of death

occurring just as the last dregs of deep orange and

fleeting purple-pink drain from the sky 

akin to watching water swirl into the 

hole at the bottom of the



dragging swathes of

warm mellow and

soft bittersweet

so, the matinee 

curtains fall 

with cool 


marking day sigh 

her last 




then do the tides rise 

big billowing walls 

and hulking swells

of pitiless unwelcome 


          crashing crests 

merciless windswept grey 

my body becomes



         inside out

every good thing swept away


spat back out onto a desert isle

the edge of the world


here a bright gentle moon 

                                     s t r e t c h e s   to

                                                               dip her toes into 

the bleak horizon sending with the ripples wishes whispered in hushed secret

                                                                                    soundless words 


                                    over the dunes of time 

heard by the silence of a yawning chasm she



shelves gelid woes to fashion a tower taller than the heavens 

looming ceaseless and forlorn 

casting shadows 

on the sky 


thrown off course far from home

the north star shines your promise

surely as sunlight fades 

night too shall pass

and day will bring a reckoning

beckoning silver swallow-tailed clouds to sweep 

away the mist of wretched gloom 

the murk of unfathomable sorrow 

back to its empty shell deep down in hell 

discontent its home

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