On Turning a Two-Dimensional Person into Three Dimensions

it is important to me that you gain depth
of field your downloading silhouette resolves
into the rest of you your nose perks
out of the shot like a stray nipple your cheeks
taper away from their cliffs coloring with heady
distance the loose strands of your uncombed
hair are bokeh how can i measure you

what i am still missing is time you are still
what i am missing time is a missed calculation
hold still i am thinking about this you are
beyond the dimensional understanding of this
civilisation like a man touching his finger to
a plane and the flat squares and flat circles
wondering at where it came from where it goes

what i claim to have is the honesty of
a picasso because first impressionists
are important but subsequent ones are
all derivative to at least the third degree
how many times can a man paint water lilies
or ballet dancers in striving for the implication
of a third dimension we have abdicated the fourth

i have only just gotten used to the length width
depth of the various parts of you yet how does
one calculate the earthshaking discovery that you
have a voice and are voices dimensions and you have
difficulty with “r”s just as i do with “th”s
my god our child will never be able to get
to third base without sounding twee

Joshua Ip is a poet, editor, and literary organiser. He has published three poetry collections with Math Paper Press, won the Singapore Literature Prize for his debut, sonnets from the singlish (2012), and placed in three different categories of the Golden Point Award. He has edited six anthologies, including the A Luxury We Cannot Afford and SingPoWriMo series. Most recently, he is co-editing a collection of twin cinema poetry from Hong Kong and Singapore with Tammy Ho Lai-Ming. He is working on a graphic novel, Ten Stories Below. He is the founder of Sing Lit Station, a literary charity that runs community initiatives including SingPoWriMo, Manuscript Bootcamp, poetry.sg and several workshop groups. His website: http://www.joshuaip.com.

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