NPW2011: Mother Tongue by V. Tan 1 Comment

NPW2011: Mother Tongue by V. Tan

[We are still having a teeny tiny linebreak issue. If you’re looking at this on the main blog page, open up the individual post and it’ll be all proper and good. Working on getting it fixed.

edit: All good! Enjoy the poetry.]

The following poem is from Voiceworks 83 Technicolour, which you can purchase right here.

Mother Tongue
by V. Tan (24)

i wish for incisions to be made in language:
tangled orthographic wedges excised
layers of phonological tissue grafted to form a
forked                                   tongue
to speak things lost – never taught,
in the name of Your English Is So Good
concise essays
broad ‘strine telephone voice
mingling into new soil and prospect.

immerse me, i begged this year,
mum, who else can i learn it from?
but our lingua franca resurfaced
worming through fissures of disuse.
we’re too used to speaking english with you.
did you know i stopped dreaming in hokkien years ago?

i would trade precision for wholeness
nasal vowels for voiced consonants
to start dreaming
to speak
to listen to you
amah, nainai,
before you too are lost to me.


    Yiyi shocked, his hands over his mouth and replaced later awakes to cover eyes: You, you quickly get dressed.

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