Issue Three:

Tan Tzy Jiun

WINTER 2020/21

Poetry

Ode to those nights

Those nights when the songs in the big car

were loud, before a long walk to the next bar

and the rain purred in tiny droplets

and someone took a puff—smoke

rubbing shoulders with steam under

streetlights. Other young faces met my own

at the speakeasy everyone was dancing

next door is a jazz bar packed with people

wearing contact lenses and closed toe shoes,

your own tongue tasted like water and ice

my friend brought his own lemon—

that flamboyant creature with more juice

than pulp gave us all kisses.

Someone was crying in the bathroom

over a dead relative, say those nights we

filmed it all on our phones, singing along

and proud of our liberation at the sugar district

where men revealed their true selves after

an upfront payment. Another funny money

story—someone asked to buy our powder

before trying to sell us his own. We danced

in the secret party at the secret park—

something european kids do. You lose

people this way. They drop off like eyelashes

over the course of the night, leaving you and the person

you have been eyeing and necking and your

skin is electrified and blistered at the heel

your new shoe torn your jade earring missing

your body an oven and the falafel wrap

you threw into the river in spite. The last time

it was a boy who kept my hands warm

when the sun rose the next day,

my tired lips meeting oyster and skin,

my girl friends who ate and ate and ate

with talk about our latest source of joy—

a fresh start, a recovering addiction, new things.

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Tan Tzy Jiun is a Malaysian poet and theatre-maker based in Vienna, Austria. A graduate student of History, her work is forthcoming in Fevers of the Mind, Stone of Madness Press, and Second Chance Lit. She has been published in Berfrois, Eunoia Review, Fleas on the Dog, Nether Quarterly and Postscript Magazine. She is also a co-founder of Exit 11 Performing Arts. Twitter: @tzyjiun_

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