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Joachim Matschoss – Monkey in Singapore

Profile Joachim Matschoss LE P&W Mag August 2019

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A Monkey in Singapore, new poems by Joachim Matschoss

Joachim Matschoss was born in Germany and now lives in Melbourne/Australia. He is a playwright, poet and Theatre-maker. His Theatre Company, ‘Backyard Theatre Ensemble (BYTE)’ presents diverse pieces of theatre all across Melbourne/ Australia and internationally, both Youth Arts and for adults. Joachim has created theatre in Australia, New Zealand, United Kingdom, India, Uzbekistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Hungary, Taiwan, Switzerland and China. Joachim’s poetry is published in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom and the USA. Joachim’s latest book, Rain Overnight: Travels in Asia, is available directly from him or from good bookshops in Melbourne and on Amazon.


a monkey in singapore

a monkey has escaped
someone saw him watching little children play
through the fence of a school opposite a hawker in kallang
I’m sure the monkey knew the break was over soon
he is intelligent
quietly observed the ball games and the hiding and the seeking
a scientist is needed
planted at a secret observation post
even at night-time with infrared glasses
but everybody knows that monkeys have acute senses
surely would smell the scientist
would smell her monthly mating smell
and so, a soldier arrived with a gun
and put the monkey to sleep
maybe forever

australian woman on the tube

the train is full to the brim
a day’s work in London is folding
I thought I could hear:
the pitter patter of a keyboard finishing a report
the turning of a myriad of pages of worn-out books
read by commuters on the long ride home
the sigh at the end of a phone call
where words exchanged were merely a whisper
the chuckle of a child at the end of the carriage
the raspy crackling of a newspaper
its pages turned with care
I thought I could hear all that but all I did hear
was the voice of an Australian woman
trying to reach alice springs
by shouting and telling the world
about the size of a country
where sensitivity is not part of the dictionary


vegetable street

behind the dusty window
women in grocery stores
their gray hair cropped in middle class neatness
their hands clean
their hips not bad still
they buy steaks, soda, fresh melons and soap
their husbands in green work pants, beer belly
and white t-shirts, shuffle along the sidewalk
in a porky walk and smoke filter-less fags
their trucks waiting around the corner
they smile as the women return
in a gust of confusing tenderness
then take the steak but not the soap
and dream of crossing into dark spaces
to find something that stirs

pies on the run

the rays of a joyous winter sun
bounce off polished cars
loaded up with Sunday outfits
chosen for the family lunch –
a woman laughs and bites
into a custard and cream ball
her ginger hair glistening
like a polished fire hydrant
in the absence of emergencies –
perky white lawn bowlers bite into carrots
because the butcher is closed today
but through the window of the bakery
pies in their thousands tumble down main street –
a grandmother with a screeching infant in a pram
zigzags across the road narrowly avoiding a collision
with a steak and mushroom tumbler
heading for the highway.


stratford from a window

the avon in winter
shows its beauty in absences
the willows are naked
and the swans are few
the only sound today is the wind
calling its ghosts from behind the gravestones
clean as a scar on glass
the heartbeats of those that brave the rain
are slowed with the rain
but from time to time
new sounds escape on the other side of night
as umbrellas crumble under sky’s weight
the warmth from burning logs
behind my back feels like a refuge

meeting you

until I met you
I was a painter without a brush
a dog without a ball to chase
or summer without sun
but then I met you
and suddenly each towel had a beach to lie on
each melody an orchestra to turn it into song
each star had a name
and the moon wore a smile a galaxy wide
and you and I build a house along the milky way
a house!
something I never thought of until I met you


© Joachim Matschoss