Shelly Bryant

Contributor Biography

Shelly Bryant divides her year between Shanghai and Singapore, working as a poet, writer, and translator. She is the author of twelve volumes of poetry (Alban Lake and Math Paper Press), a pair of travel guides for the cities of Suzhou and Shanghai (Urbanatomy), a book on classical Chinese gardens (Hong Kong University Press), and a short story collection (Epigram Books). She has translated work from Chinese for Penguin Books, Amazon Crossing, Epigram Publishing, the National Library Board in Singapore, Giramondo Books, HSRC, Rinchen Books, and Maclehose Press and edited poetry anthologies for Alban Lake and Celestial Books. Shelly's poetry has appeared in journals, magazines, and websites around the world, as well as in several art exhibitions. Her translation of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls was long-listed for the Man Asian Literary Prize, and her translation of You Jin's In Time, Out of Place was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize. Shelly received a Distinguished Alumna Award from Oklahoma Christian University of Science and Arts. Her company, Tender Leaves Translation (Singapore), was shortlisted for The Literary Translation Initiative Award by the London Book Fair. You can visit Shelly's website at: shellybryant.com

Prayer and Meditation

indifference an admirable goal

     when polar opposites remain

such close cousinsphobia and fetish

     sink and swim, left and right

 

must no religion always mean

     we are left without a prayer

Travels Through the Kuiper Belt

comet

in irregular orbit

when seen from its star

and the inner planets

 

from beyond

its steps ordered

pulled by powers

too vast too distant

 

too subtle

for earth’s instruments

to take measure

her intellects to grasp

Untitled Sijo

my prayers

                  the barycenter

between the Centre’s mass and mine

 

moving me

                   to run apace

around the warmth of his glory

 

moving him

                    his providence

an answer to my pleas

22 June 1633

rings

shine

around

Saturn’s orb

my telescope’s view

exploding the walls of this cell

Saturn, and His Heir

"Saturn and Jupiter combined account for 92% of the entire

planetary mass in the solar system.”

(http://theplanets.org/saturn/)

for the 1%

of the eight, maybe nine

     gathered here

two hoard the bulk of resources

leaving even less than a tithe

     from their coffers, to be split

     by the remaining congregants

 

like all greedy giants

     and other failed stars

     they float, without face

          and skinless

naked, gaseous, and overheated

they swirl in their fancy garb

     without a single inch

     of solid ground on which to stand

 

while in the hearts of their neighbors

     a fire burns

                      hot and hard

and on those toughened shells

     life

          occasionally

               bursts into being

Horology

sundial

     measured, moments

     the movements of timepieces

     on high; Earth’s flow

     around her sun

 

hourglass

     a running stream dammed

     time, pooling at the neck

     insisting on its trajectory

     with each falling grain

 

clock

     walking on its hands

     we pace ourselves

     its cadence prescribing

     the flow of our days

 

timeline

     life’s events marked

     birth graduation marriage death

     life’s days passed

     in the spaces in between

Author's Note:

"22 June 1633" first appeared in 7x20 (Oct 2015).

"Horology" first appeared in Alluvium.

Low Kian Seh

Contributor Biography

Low Kian Seh has a chemical engineering degree but is an artist to a larger degree. He is a chemistry teacher by occupation but has poetry as a preoccupation. For the love of the craft, he makes time to write, despite being a busy civil servant and father of three. His works have been published in SingPoWriMo anthologies, A Luxury We Cannot AffordA Luxury We Must AffordTwin CitiesAnima Methodi, Contour, and Seven Hundred Lines. He won first prize in Singapore’s National Poetry Competition 2019. He is better known for his twin cinema poem, "Singaporean Son", that has gone viral, twice. 

maybe God is a barista

who brewed a universe from 

long black with a big bang 

of expresso shots full-bodied;

percolated stars like clustered

bubbles; swirled galaxies out

of milk foam; styled surfaces

of planets as latte art, with

shortbread moons by the side;

scattered asteroid lumps

of sugar, some caramelized to

trailing comets. after all, being 

eternally awake is implicit 

in omniscienceperhaps life 

itself sprouted from primordial 

froth of caffeine molecules

the scientific method

ask a question about an observation:

can sound faith transmit through 

a vacuum; will the weight 

of God’s word change on the moon;

can Mass always be an expected

constant in any circumstance; what value 

of density of a prayer for it to float

to heaven? brandish the bible 

as research notes, and construct

hypothesis: “If [God does this], then 

[my belief] will happen”; ensure 

prediction is measurable. faith is independent

variable on which all others depend. life

is the experiment is the fair test 

is not an accidentbut what is your actual

condition? control is not always available.

real data is messy: all the individual points

in your life are not always connected

by a straight line. there is often no best fit

and regression is never good for relationships,

inclusive of a divine outlier. analysis informs

the theory, theorist, theology, theist; 

such findings cannot be contained in the abstract

creation

You dress the night in tapestries of splendor,

pen Your signature across the stars

the cosmos bear Your hallmark as designer,

down to cells composing who we are

 

Your trace is whispered gently in the breeze,

a breath of life that stirs the leaves and flowers, 

while the storms that thunder presence seize

attention in these raw displays of power

 

we are fashioned in Your image, glowing

neon signboards of Your craftsmanship;

as walking products, advertisements showing

definitive proof of ownership:

to recognise the fingerprints that brand

on every jar of clay the Potter’s Hand