your name | my name

should be the borderposts between lidfall and -rise,
the last half-hearted passport stamp before the no-
man’s-land our bodies trundle into, driverless,
a straightaway, no streetlights, and the midnight median
flecking into morse. when we exit the twilight
zone these are the things that i expect: a morning
buzz, some good vibrations, so refreshing they
will put it on a towel, you, eye-opener,
a pick-me-up line with our names, our twin greetings
unfolding in the middle like a tourist brochure.

but you, illegal immigrant, for whom exists
no boundaries, you insist on enjambing my last
mumblings into your first words before dawn, always
in the middle of a sentence. where is your name, my name?
i cannot sleep right if i have not said yours and heard mine.
as if you struck the first blow in an iaijutsu
duel without bowing – my head will roll begrudgingly
on the floor, glaring, imploring you to say:

my name | your name

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, and several workshop groups. His website:

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