by Jonathan Ng
Falling waste water rushes down steel pipes
Like cybernetic trains in a distant future.
Not rumbling like present hulking L-Trains
But like garbled data these waterfalls shred
As warbling ukuleles, playing in the morning song
Of dirty apartment blocks in Hong Kong.
Slamming doors and table screeches
Act next as the rhythm section of this jazz band.
Lifts scrape the walls as they rise and descend
Humming like blunted fingernails across washboards.
Meanwhile upstairs footsteps begin to play the snares
(door) slam, step and step, step and step, step and step.
Then the mothers scream at children who bawl,
Construction workers swear for the sake of it.
Vocalists resonate through windows that meet
In central spires full of putrid air.
Our vocalists’ amplifiers are ceramic hallways,
Alarms sound, cabinets shut, lifts shudder up and down.
The set usually reaches its peak then around ten.
The riffing’s gone once the climax has been reached
Nobody wakes up another and no new instrument
Adds to the fray – everyone’s awake, moving, gone.
At night the children return before seven, some adults past ten
There’s no synchronous tune to play them out.
Come tomorrow morning,
The music starts again.