“not say i want to say, but then this one
who say one?” “i say one lor, arbuthen.”
“this one you say one? liedat also can??
today you say ho say, later bueh gum

then you say i saw who confirm?” “you say
what what lor. anyway i say one thing
is one thing one. not like you everything
also say people like mm sam mm say.”

“you say some more?” “you say first one ma.” “wan
to come outside say? say louder?” “dun wan.
ok la, i say wrongly, ho say bo?
take it i never say la.” “then say so!
your mouth damn suey. you dun wan me to say
then dun say me—not say i want to say.” 

by Joshua Ip
from sonnets from the singlish (2012)


SELECTED POEMS: "explaining a thousand cranes" >