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Poems, Tania de Rozario


Poems, Tania de Rozario

Maria S. Mendes


Tania de Rozario is an Eurasian poet, artist and curator, whose debut book, Tender Delirium, was shortlisted for the Singapore Literature Prize for Poetry in 2014. Her artistic practice intersects text and image. Tania de Rozario’s poem may to be written for a lover but readers of these lines may also consider them a letter to one’s country. 


What You Are, Tania De Rozario 


I want to write you a poem that unravels 
from the gut, hurls itself towards you
like a slap across the mouth. Let my words 
unleash themselves upon you like dogs 
looking for a fight, like seeds bursting 
from overripe pods. Let every vowel 
explode in your face like cruel laughter, 
every consonant pronounce itself
like death into your ear, every comma 
trip up your speech, every full-stop 
prevent you from finding your way
home. I hope you were not expecting

sweet nothings, love songs, cherished 
clichés: the heart that triumphs over 
adversity, finds strength in the adoring 
eyes of a child, realises that we are 
not so different after all; surely you are
not so naïve, not thinking I am going to turn 
this into some lovepoem, waxing lyrical
about secrets whispered between sweethearts, 
or about hands held on crowded trains
at dawn. Or about you, as if you take root
at the base of my spine, fingers climbing
each vertebra one by one. This is not 

some ode with your name on it. I want
to write you a poem that drives a bullet 
through your beliefs, plagues you
with your own reflection, shatters
every illusion like bricks through a window 
pane: let it stir the birds in your chest 
so hard they burst through your flesh
in a spectacle of sound and despair. I want 
to write you a poem that lingers
on your breath like cigarettes, stings
your eyes like salt, its fingers pointing 

unflinchingly: This is what you are


Tania de Rozario, “What You Are”, Tender Delirium. Singapore: Math Paper Press, 2013. 

Tania De Rozario is a writer and visual artist. She is the author of And The Walls Come Crumbling Down, Tender Delirium and Somewhere Else, Another You, all published by Math Paper Press. Her art has been showcased in galleries and art spaces in Singapore, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam and Moscow. Her writing has been published in journals and anthologies including Sow’s Ear Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner Online JournalBlue Lyra Review, The Laurel Review and The Margin – The Asian American Writers Workshop Journal