Instructions from a Serial Killer

Felix Cheong Seng Fei

I could not help the fact that I was a murderer, no more than the poet can help the inspiration to sing. -- American serial killer H.H. Holmes.

after the first four,
you keep score on the bedroom wall
an etch for each bitch

no room in your head
to host the dead.
she will grow on you, like cancer
laying claim to your brain

let the dead bury the dead,
but leave her eyes and remains open
to sudden hands,

the way your rope
strains the death mask
as your knife, eloquent
and rehearsed so often,
quills a stark grammar
on her face,
parts speech from death

what drives the artist
becomes his method
you learn to feed off registers
of rage, violence of art,

and there will be no finer moment
than this spell
that keeps you singing hours after
the trespass of sleep,
dyeing of sheets

after the first four,
you are your past,
memories picked off bodies
you no longer care
what is asked of you
to get it right

but to wait,
gather your wits about you
and wait

another siren calling forth the chase.

Published in Broken by the Rain (2003)

Postcolonial Web Singapore OV Singaporean
Literature Felix Cheong Seng Fei

Last Modified: 5 September 2003