Love, an Asingbol

Love is that brute that killed Caesar, that unfaithful disciple, that Buddhist, Shi Ming Yi, caught for conspiracy: a liar, a cheat – human.

(cont.) It is the counting of flower-petals, the Tinder chats, the Grindr photos: words spoken from one spouse to another and another other.

Love: it is the sore lack of space for my tongue, the choking hazard that I took voluntarily much like a monk in meditation – sokushinbutsu.

(cont.) It is the rapture, the stairway to heaven, the highway to hell – it is the fence we can’t jaywalk across, the first and last cliché.

Love is immaterial, mostly impractical, barely immeasurable – it is that impierceable veil, that imprudent wall: that impersuasible tryant.



Write an ASINGBOL, an obscure new form indigenous to Singapore, the way the pantoum is Malayan or the tanka is Japanese. It is the expedient poetic form created for our expedient society. It’s also essentially an “impossible” poem, befitting of our “impossible nation”.

Here are the structural requirements:

The ASINGBOL is composed of exactly 140 characters including spaces (right, take liberties with counting pauses or caesurae as characters). Written as a single clause, all the words are not capitalized, with the sentence always end-stopping on a period to emphasize its statement of exposition and assertion. The asingbol attempts the near impossible — to be completely literal, at the points of its making and its subsequent reading, devoid of irony or metaphor as if to make disappear the hyperbole altogether. It is written like a dictionary entry espousing a single definition. It is also incapable of being read as symbolic. It celebrates the text as pure object.

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