Letting Go – Joshua Ip

“Then some of the guys wanted to pee but of course, this being Lower Manhattan at night, there was not an open public restroom to be found . This was when Sam suggested walking towards the water and finding a spot where they could discreetly relieve themselves. They ended up urinating into New York Harbour as the Statue of Liberty twinkled in the distance. Later, Sam told us he had made it a point to pee into every major body of water he visited: He could already count Lake Michigan, the Thames, the Seine, the Vltava in Prague and Shanghai’s Huangpu as some of his conquests.”  – Stephanie Ye, “Astoria”, from the Billion Shop

Amateur psychologists think this claiming, male-of-the-species
Behavior, territorial – but waters don’t work that way.

They all return to source, where at some point
A Singaporean will drink it from tap, and feel patriotic.

I have slid myself into East Coast waters amidst families
and lovers and made the little sigh. It is as if crying,

this spreading warm bloom of shame and relief,
a mushrooming plume of red in a heat map, body temperature

diffusing to room. A Sim who has zeroed out and found
the sweet release of not caring, of giving back to society,

of rejoining the great cycle, of yin sui si yuan.
I empty myself into the great rivers and lakes

As if they care. Freedom is the act of letting go
Where you’re not supposed to, even symbolically.

Haven’t you, too, posed before a fake national symbol
As if its eloquent water was your water?

i too have posed in front of that national symbol
as if its water came out of me.

Image result for Letting Go photo

About the contributor: Joshua Ip is a poet, editor, and literary organiser. He has published four poetry collections with Math Paper Press, won the Singapore Literature Prize for his debut, sonnets from the singlish, and placed in three different categories of the Golden Point Award. He has edited nine anthologies, including the A Luxury We Cannot Afford and SingPoWriMo series. He co-founded Sing Lit Station, an overactive literary charity that runs community initiatives including SingPoWriMo, Manuscript Bootcamp, poetry.sg and the world’s first wrestling/performance-poetry hybrid, Sing Lit Body Slam. He received the Young Artist Award from the National Arts Council (Singapore) in 2017. http://www.joshuaip.com

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