about dreams

about dreams©papa osmubal

about dreams©papa osmubal


about dreams
fong keng seng

night is a unicorn of Mesopotamia
every night swallows a beautiful dream

close the eye of the sun
night opens its lips
kisses my thoughts
I get pregnant
Giving birth to a dream

starless night
I lie in the arms of night
a dream lies in my arms
the dream I hold takes up a string of memory
that I held in the arms of night picks up the
line of a poem

because of dreaming
there is night

I am a point outside your circle
never can I go your way
that’s why you are forever perfect
perfect as
the first dew
hatched of dawn

the dream I hold takes up a string of memory
that I held in the arms of night picks up the
line of a poem

trans. Athena Kong and Christopher ‘Kit’ Kelen


i have something to say

who?©papa osmubal

who?©papa osmubal

i have something to say
che sio peng

the first worship

comes from the infinite conversation to dawn
previous lives are a well of dead water
smoke of spirit
floats over the chaos

words are too hastily written
they can be song
but not poem
stars in chaos
their thin silver basin
look at each other, a habit
waiting for a great work
to hasten, to finish
for ages to come

time has aged
we surely are
on stage for a moment
night off
dawn allows
the crows to continue the song
time has aged
we surely are
On stage for a moment
night off
dawn allows
the crows to continue the song

trans. Athena Kong Sut Ieng and Christopher Kelen



old macau street©papa osmubal

old macau street©papa osmubal

christopher ‘kit’ kelen

wishing to be
alleywise appraised
of each secret
and the unseen of public thoughts
I stand
sententious blaze of eye
in the authentic streets
the gaze on me

I am pure there
dogs know it
the doors shrink
every shadow lengthens

still in its heat
the day hails me

like girls on the Rua Nova do Commercio
say ‘sleep’
meaning something restless for money

I could rub in those great soul silences
I’d be the stethoscope seeking out affect

likewise the pressed meat men and girls
hail me
each to his own prosthesis

the bus home has my number
the light electric a playful accomplice

all acknowledge
the dusty hat man
lacking words
the street must know by hear


dark between empires

an empire's remnant©papa osmubal

an empire's remnant©papa osmubal

dark between empires
christopher ‘kit’ kelen

a passage of steps
in the dark between empires

I live in a box
worm burrowed
patched of old packing
in which the salt washes

deep in the grain
lured along with a flute

red painted
on Christmas lights a tide
moss shining with the rain

this is where the princess fled
the inflated courtesan was chased
into a fog of streets
the prince followed

streets folded away
inhabitants vanished
the cauldron was rolled in behind doors

from a crack in the cabinet
see the passage of ships
sometimes mist clears
Peru hoves in sight

the ruins rise with each lapse of attention
a temple crops up in the street

but mainly the dice still roll with the decks
ivory on felt on timber

a revelation with the moon
which does the business of the goddess
to strike the silver se


where lovers go©papa osmubal

where lovers go©papa osmubal


christopher ‘kit’ kelen

the lovers
always climb to great heights
as if the views excused
their dark of heart
and shallow hope

God is a great height
over our wishes
and they are dressed for it
skimp in the sweaty cloud that’s come for

the brakes will never do for this hill

for rocks and flowing water

crags ©papa osmubal

crags ©papa osmubal

for rocks and flowing water

kit kelen

the north wind bites
at crags
which cannot be scenic
but for the water
and the woods below

river goes where feet won’t
still I’m drawn on
into this night

flows into the mountain
to distances on

a voice upon stones
brings views of elsewhere

ten thousand voices
sort to season

sun, moon in glimpses
rosy peaks
from clouds are grown

and gone
I must move higher

my stick
brings me everywhere

of the trail it was made
foolish legs won’t carry me home now

look at me —lichen
grown on a river bend

so the caged bird is muted
the royal horse brought to heel

it’s not the right time
and never the right time

the superior man’s
biggest sneer
for himself

a duty
to mountains and mists

4 snow peaks in the tarn
a sprinkling of stars

the river runs too fast to rhyme

dark waterweeds
moss floating

to tame
the in and out
heart mind
begin with observation

waves come through the hollow of valley
they deafen
water so fast it peels the fish scales

the mountain is sharp
its ridge drills the sky

steep earth hewn stairs
and dangerous planks

these lean against
the blue, the green

immortals fly
on fine boned wings

from great heights
one exaggerates

mere duckweed
my view here
the forest below

6 notes in clear water
tunes of cold stars

to wash old things
brings back the colour

I drink from snow melted
not from the stream
which passes men’s haunts

smooth marble has a sharp edge
jade is dense, is matted, like grass

river and valley
mortar and pestle

the argument of right and wrong
and always wrung one way

go deep into the valley
go high for the best views

past paths, past every human trace
escape the vulgar world

forget mortality, daily things

foolish beasts will not fear people
thus they’re tricked with nets

equality of poor and rich
comes only at this height

see scholars clean like clouds
and thin, so thin, dissolving

ten thousand zithers
the discord of town
where here the one stream sings

old men keep their strength
but when the wind blows
lean in to the cliff

to learn among mountains
the peaceful mind
never need be calmed

I crossed the south river in the great wind
today I climb for the view

most things in the mountains seem gaunt
nights ice and the days cast in shadowless snow

gaze into the depth of jade iced over
still the spring sings

no mending old worries
dragons hide their scales to float

fish leap for new poems
forget the old

the moon is yet to hang on sparse summits
not even the sun knows where it will fall

shall we visit the virtuous in first light?
this mountain’s thick with hermits

the wind like a brush
over inkstone and valley

how angrily
a river flows
to set down

the lure of all things
in spite of their wildness

just here
where I’ve sought
to lose my way

mourning poem

wait not for spring ©papa osmubal

wait not for spring ©papa osmubal

mourning poem
Kit Kelen

                                 after the Tang poet, Meng Jiao

the oriole is full of tact
sings for those with something to wake for

with you gone
there’s not much of spring for me

the sun out of season
mocks all inconstancy

when it’s high enough
for birds to retire

then I might come from my nest