Blue White Noise (I ATE TIONG BAHRU): by Stephen Black

Floor

Photograph by Stephen Black

Two of the walls are dirty mirrors. Caught between them, the guts of this place are repeated and jammed into grimy centers of infinity. Red plastic chairs, white Formica tables, the fluorescent lights, the people; all are mirrored and squeezed. In back, two young mainland Chinese women boil and cut yong tau foo. They’re silent.

Below the streetlights a river flows. It may flood again. Angry and worried, a small Chinese woman in a tight pink dress: the taxi stand, her watch, the taxi stand, her watch, the rain, the taxi stand, her watch… On TV, subtitled Chinese promises of eternal love by a couple wearing something like Gucci,before cutting to a lit match above a gagged woman sitting in gasoline. She tries to scream.

The man near me leans back and his orange hair enters the mirrors. Three shopping bags by his sandals, nothing on his table. He begins combing.The Filipinas drink Coke and make phone calls at a table covered with Tiger bottles and globs of chocolate cake. Young Bob Dylan rushes by with a newspaper over his head. Bob’s red-faced, with a platinum blonde Chinese woman on his arm. Bob’s wearing a Nirvana Tshirt. 5AM in anywhere.

The vacant field, the Tiong Bahru Estates. The small blue signs of Kim Pong Street. The rain.This shop has a month to live.

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Stephen Black is usually easy to talk to but often difficult to explain. http://glossi.com/bookmerah/4438-half-black-stephen-black-2012-review

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