Felix Cheong

Contributor Biography

Felix Cheong is the author of 18 books across different genres, including poetry, short stories, flash fiction, and children's picture books. His works have been widely anthologised, quoted in telemovies and adapted for the stage. Conferred the Young Artist Award in 2000, Felix holds a masters in creative writing and is an associate lecturer with Murdoch University, University of Newcastle, Curtin University, and the National University of Singapore.

FEARS

I.

Lord, my fears
Are coming and clear.
They reach me here,

Feet of crows
Crossing years.
Maybe, in truth,

They never kneel,
They never tell.
They've found

My being unsound
And my road
Is round myself.


II.

Lord, I'm here,
Kneeling on fears.
Crow's feet of years.

I've been sound,
Coming round
To being found.

I've crossed myself,
As You can tell,
Crossed the roads

To reach a clearing.
Maybe, in truth,
It had reached me.


 

MEDITATIONS

Father, my words kneel before you,

having nowhere to go.

 

When I pry the palms of my poems,

I do not recognise them.

 

They do not leave marks

cutting roads for direction.

 

They have neither the grace

nor light of your psalms.

 

I must have gotten it all wrong—

though I cannot remember when the writer

 

became more urgent than the writing,

the tool more needed than the task.

 

Father, I am bereft

and coming undone.

 

I need to unlearn,

I need to be dumb.

 

For I have nothing left

on my tongue.

A WISH UPON A SILENT GOD

I would’ve surrendered sight

for the greater insight,

to glimpse the burning bush

and let your face ash,

once and for all,

doubts of your existence.

 

I would’ve believed that stars

could signal the birth of gods,

as if I were young still, soul

unfractured, china-whole,

decades clasped like hands in prayer,

meditating beads soaked in sweat.

TESTING THE WATERS

There is too much unrest in me

to ever cross in peace

and tread the protesting waters

as if I were an apostle.

 

And though I’ve heard you call

above the hymns I’ve hurled—

that you will not let me fall—

I know too well, my Lord,

 

at heart I’m still a child,

unable to weather my storm

running its own course,

more in awe of the rattle and howl

 

than the sheer force of your face,

mysterious and calm.

SHADOW BOXING

Master, why do you leave me out cold,

no matter the words

I conjure and throw

with the lurches of a boxer

on the last legs of his round?

 

Don’t you care

that as my rhythm winds down,

my fisted poems punctuating air,

that I might collapse

in a heap?

 

Or is that your strategy,

allowing me space

to run rings round my rage

till exhaustion, or the deafening bell,

sends me sprawling to the ground?

Rena Ong

Contributor Biography

Originally from the UK, Rena Ong is married to a Singaporean husband with an adult son living in Australia. A retired teacher of children with dyslexia, Rena has work in Ekstasis Magazine, Mingled Voices: Proverse Poetry Prize Anthology,

Fish Publishing Anthology, Poems for Ephesians, and Studio: A Journal of Christians Writing

Susanna Wesley’s Apron

No pilgrimage to Israel;

no cloistered cell;

no holy retreat.

Not with ten tumbling children

rumbling through the house.

 

Despite the chaos and noise,

the never-ending grind of 

making ends meet,

the demands of motherhood,

she made time to talk with God

 

under her own ‘Temple of Meeting’

fashioned from her simple apron

draped over her head. She prayed.

In that holy place, like Moses in the desert,

she met with God.

Exposed

 

—Inspired by Malachi 3:6

A moist sponge removes make-up,

naked faces exposed. Powder puffs

wait in the drawer, lipsticks unnecessary.

We stand alone on solid rock. 

Eyes look to you, souls stripped bare,

we seek you amongst shadows

 

where, we walk and talk with 

the only constant on which we can depend.