Four Poems by Raphael Lim

when the sky fell in

yesterday a crew
with infinitely extendible ladders
dropped by my backyard to fix the sky.
in my backyard. thrilling audacity of it all.
i objected. the crew extended
wouldn’t hear a single word of it.
even though

i’ve seen aviators crash. their
planes burning against the tilted sky.
even though I’ve watched old men
in narrow cafes. chewing their coffee

waiting for the right moment
to go out and catch the birds

i’ve watched younger men scrawling
graffiti in the nearness of rain
setting fire to their cigarettes
with the grimy light of stars. tangled
in telephone wires.

some rainy days I’d hit the city centre
just to watch storm clouds snag
on the pointy bits of statues
and skyscrapers.

the sky fell in. the city fixed it. today
i’ll have to find
something else to watch
to pass the time


For Hui Ting

i blame you for our lives
moving too fast. we’ve only lain
down for ten minutes and already
it’s two pm and we’re late for lunch
twenty three years in the future. relatively
we’ve only spent moments
in bed but already our chins sag. our skin
has started to wrinkle like Time
was a hot tub we spent too long in

that was impossible to get out of. tuna
are now extinct. wars happen. people
get born. clouds drift in cups
of black coffee in al fresco diners
in prague. tomorrow

someone from our future
opens the bedroom door
pulls on yellow gloves. starts digging
past five layers of sediment and hits
the ruins of our bed with his shovel

finds us entwined
conjoined at the hip.
your skull
on my scapula
the most beautiful fossil
from tomorrow


Published in Popshot Issue 6

i have set up camp within
the electric fence
surrounding your heart despite
the wasp stings. the nettles
amidst the carpet grass
the repeated mauling
courtesy of your pet alsatian. right now

i’m scrawling the crudest of graffiti
on your pristine ivory façade
what exactly
i’m not telling

you’ve got to come down
from your tower
and stand right here
right next to me
to find out

why I only ever get laid

i’ll need you to murder the crow
sitting on our window sill
and all the yappy dogs
in the neighborhood

i’ll need you to spend
twelve dollars forty on groceries
and afternoons packing
and unpacking books
insecurities. cardboard.
lettuce. shank. misconceptions
as nina simone wails
about god on my laptop

i’ll need you to understand
that the pillar of salt
on the balcony
is transmutation. installation art
the artist I fucked last month
and that the rain will wash it away

i’ll need you to not freak out
when the static-laden voices
of my past issue forth
from the 1950s authentic
vinyl we bought in ___ (insert
romantic European city)
like god with abandonment issues
and a hangover.

and I’ll need three cigarettes
for when i wake up next to you
the afternoon sunlight
shining on your left arm

Profile: Raphael Lim

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