Jerrold Yam

Contributor Biography

Jerrold Yam is a corporate lawyer and the author of three poetry collections: Intruder (Ethos Books, 2014), Scattered Vertebrae (Math Paper Press, 2013) and Chasing Curtained Suns (Math Paper Press, 2012). His poems have appeared in Ambit, Oxford Poetry, Prairie Schooner, The Straits Times and Time Out Magazine. He has received awards from the British Council, National University of Singapore and Poetry Book Society (UK).

Audition

When I see friends sprinting to the altar, their legs
broken and fallen on the carpet before the cross, 
I thank you for the work done 
to their lives. Some shake uncontrollably, 
others wail—a long, languorous note
as if the soul is prying open the flaccid
shell of their bodies and given utterance. 
When they lay hands over me, faces wet
with divine recognition, I try to feel you churning,
gasping, in the centre of my chest
like a zygote feeding and growing on its 
mother’s blood. Are there people
unaccounted by your grandiose 
universe plans, left out and put away
at the spark of creation? I see my friends,
so sure of salvation they can die 
contented at twenty-one, how valiantly 
your call is answered, how fiercely they 
claimed places at your table. I will
or will not know 
why you made me this way. I take my place 
in pews of austere wood, a stranger let in
on charity, left to do the dirty work.

Communion 

Standing and facing the table with the book and cross,
I don’t know if my limbs could afford it,
or what I should be asking, mired 
in the swarm of sinners. Lifting
an arm, its fist and fingers, and a 
wafer at the end of it, quiet 
as a baby’s sallow iris, this could be 
the one action I cannot get right, 
lifting and praying, getting-prayed-for, 
like the one irreconcilable motion of the
human body. But at the month’s 
rebirth I would still linger, 
in its corridor of second chances, trusting 
it will lead me back into myself, 
my own fabled kingdom. Can no one 
be without a place? Only disciples 
survive on his memory, only their 
tongues would reel from the welding of flesh and 
blood in a mouth, the wafer crumpled
for swallowing, and I am eating 
as they ate, and drank, and met again.

Trinity 

When she feels one isn’t enough for bargaining, 
or if the task is so wildly magnificent 
she assumes independence to be insincerity,
my sister and I troop to her room, back-up soldiers,
kneeling together on the bed where her 
body perseveres, lifeless, at night. The words
come unnatural to me, tiredly graveling 
over my mouth, each vowel 
hardened from the clay of my lips, as if
painfully sculpted for the air to receive. Then 
it is my sister’s turn, sounds pouring
off her light, cavernous body and 
the largesse of her youthful heart 
as easy as talent. I wonder what
makes her so genuine around people,
even the ones we live with, or 
especially the ones who have brought us
violently into this world. I seek 
out her tiny, iridescent heart
like a vow, pressing it to mine 
as my forehead now lies
seared to the thumbs of my clenched hands. When my
mother speaks, her voice easing off 
to surround us whole, all I see in the mineral dark
is a three-pointed star, a diadem 
of faith, made with pliable metal
limbs of mother, sister, self, 
our heads pointing like compasses 
to the hollowed core of a soul, of souls 
that ache after a family.

Author's Note:

These poems were first published in Scattered Vertebrae (Math Paper Press, 2013).

Raymond Anthony Fernando

Contributor Biography

Raymond Anthony Fernando is a motivational speaker, poet, author, trainer, songwriter, freelance television actor, ghostwriter, media celebrity, and a regular newspaper forum page writer. He is a Mental Health Ambassador with the Institute of Mental Health. The celebrated author of 42 books was married to Doris Lau, who herself, authored eight books. Raymond, who was named Model Caregiver 2007 and Mental Health Champion 2010, is born on Valentine’s Day. 

The Eyes of Jesus

Hung on the corner walls of my home
With Jesus watching over me, I am not alone
His picture is on the right and on the left
Here is where many a time I have wept


The picture focuses on Jesus in a beautiful way
It captures Jesus glowing like the sun rays
The eyes of Jesus follow me in every direction I go
He is telling me that he loves me, a virtue I should know


The eyes of Jesus watch over my family and me
It inspires me when I write my poetry
It helps me overcome my struggles in life
It has been instrumental in protecting my wife


The eyes of Jesus capture visitors' attention
They learn to be kind
They learn to be gentle
Indeed, the eyes of Jesus teach valuable lessons


The eyes of Jesus seem to cry on Good Friday
I am moved to tears, oh what else can I say?
During the Christmas season, the eyes of Jesus light up
It adds so much joy to us and brings lots of good luck


The eyes of Jesus, in my home, will always have a place
For the eyes of Jesus have so much grace
The eyes of Jesus are my direction for a life that is meaningful
That is my chosen way, that is my Golden Rule