(for RPK, Teresa Kok, Tan Hoon Cheng and all ISA detainees)
Beth Yahp, 16 Sept 2008
I’m putting you on notice.
You, up there pulling the strings,
whipping up shadows
for your danse macabre.
You think we don’t see your antics,
we’re trussed like chickens to market,
blind clawed, basket cases,
ripping and pecking to your tune.
You think our throats are already slit.
And you can drain away our voices.
And sell us to the highest bidders
to feather your executive jets.
You think we’ll go quietly, alone
in our colour-coded cages
in our separate sacks of god-given
skin. Hateful of our neighbours.
You think we’re just like you.
(In fact you’re betting on it: a prod here,
a poke there, gets us hot and bothered,
pecking and ripping in concert,
and you laughing all the way to market.)
In case you haven’t noticed,
we’ve stitched our throats together.
It’s not pretty,
but it’s a start.
We’re tending our wounds, our wounded,
Staunching your haemorrhage
of our spirit, our neighbourliness,
our trust. You don’t get it, do you?
You think you’re still the wayang masters,
Overseering us with your big shields,
big sticks. You still have power to disappear
us. Crack our backs, our pockets, our hearts.
But we aren’t just puppets seeking better
masters. We’re not just jumping to the beat
of alternate messiahs. We aren’t game-play fodder
to be whirled as needed, then swept aside.
Pull all your strings, but we’re the dancers.
We’re bone and sinew, tears and sweat,
dancing the dance of our own history
in the making, singing from our own slit throats.
And we’re singing: We don’t need protection
from each other, thank you
We’re singing: We refuse.
We’re singing: We accuse.
We’re singing: We hear your promises.
We’re singing: We’re watching you.
And we don’t need your protection,
thank you, except from you.