Kelly Kaur (photo: Cheryl Dust, Duster Video)

Does the moon count as abroad? Okay, Kelly Kaur has not been to the moon, but one of her poems will be in a time capsule on the Nova Collection of the Lunar Codex – Nova-C mission (June 2023). In addition to the moon time-capsule, her work has appeared on beer cans (Blindman Session Beer Cans), travelled around North Dakota (North Dakota Human Rights Arts Festival, visiting six museums in North Dakota), and been anthologized. Her poem, “The Justice of Death,” was awarded Honourable Mention in the Creators of Justice Literary Awards, International Human Rights Art Festival, New York. 
Kelly Kaur grew up in Singapore, came to Calgary to get her degrees at the University of Calgary, and now teaches at Mount Royal University in Calgary.
She returned to Singapore for three months this autumn to gather more stories and launch her book at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival (October 27-30, 2022). Her novel, Letters to Singapore, was published by Stonehouse Publishing, May 1, 2022.

Kelly Kaur has kindly consented to share two poems with us for the winter solstice.

A Singaporean’s Love Affair 

I utter in clandestine code 
Nasi lemak, mee rebus, mee siam 
Paratha, mee pok, char kway teow, 
Biryani, nasi padang, rojak, char siew pao, 
Roti john, mee soto, popiah, putu piring 
Embedded in my genetic soul 
Ravenous for the familiarity of 
a satiating sustenance
a childhood defined
a hungry rebellion usurped
a displaced gluttonous immigrant 
lost in a gumbo of new worlds 
a legacy of bewilderment
longingly relishing fuel
that coursed through my veins
I prattle my mindless mantra 
Durian, satay, ice kacang, kaya, teh tarik 
Ketupat, laksa, lontong, dosai, agar agar 
Putu piring, wonton mee, chili crab 
Bak kut teh, chendol, gado gado
A foreigner
Forever famished

     — “A Singaporean’s Love Affair,” will go to the moon in a time capsule (The Nova Collection - Lunar South Pole Region, Q1 2023
via SpaceX Falcon 9 / Intuitive Machines Nova-C Lander in June 2023).

Durian photo: Kelly Kaur

My Love is a Durian 
My love is a furtive durian 
prickly, bristly, inaccessible 
take time to comprehend 
lovingly map out the thorns 
riven by invisible clefts 
wrench open 
hidden fissures 
within fissures 
thrust your impatient fingers  
deep into the pungent flesh 
nestling pale yellow, corpulence 
sometimes, sweet manna 
sometimes, squelchy pulpy mess 
sometimes, rotten permeated mush 
prick your passionate explorations 
until you compellingly whiff 
how my faltering love reeks 
like an unfathomable durian 
      — “My Love is a Durian” selected for The Best Asian Poetry 2021, Singapore and Asia Pacific, edited by Sudeep Sen,  Kitaab International, December 2021.

Posted by Debra Martens

author, editor