Terrible Things Are Happening in New Jersey!

by Topaz Winters

Topaz Winters is the Singaporean-American author of three full-length poetry collections (most recently So, Stranger, Button Poetry, 2022). She is the founder & editor-in-chief of the internationally-acclaimed publishing house, literary journal, & arts organisation Half Mystic. Her peer-reviewed research on poetry, identity, & queerness in Singapore is published in the Journal of Homosexuality. Her creative work has been published in & featured by venues from The Straits Times to American Banker to the Singapore Writers Festival to the Boston Poetry Slam to the Center for Fiction to the Academy of American Poets. Topaz is 22 years old & in her third year at Princeton University.

 

after Maureen N. McLane

Walking home alone at night I hear the newspaper headlines
reminding me of suspicious disappearances in the neighbourhood.

               It’s fun, sometimes, to risk my life as a scientific experiment—
               to see what it would be like to die of my own stupidity. I believe

there is a street where I will one day receive all the names I used
to be called. I’ve spent most of twenty-two years looking for it,

               which is called religion. I used to have potential but now
               I give strangers my address & tell no one they are coming over.

The new boy calls me enigma, the old one crazy bitch.
I mean, call me what you want, just hold me while you do it.

               New Jersey is hard to shake. I have yet to wear good lingerie for
               a serial killer, but the newspaper tells me it’s only a matter

of timing. I write essays about metamorphoses & pay the same six
debts every week. Terrible things are happening! No matter where

               I run, the Top 40 charts follow me. Oh, to believe in something
               my teeth can sink into. Oh, to escape the life I built to escape.


Topaz Winters is the Singaporean-American author of three full-length poetry collections (most recently So, Stranger, Button Poetry, 2022). She is the founder & editor-in-chief of the internationally-acclaimed publishing house, literary journal, & arts organisation Half Mystic. Her peer-reviewed research on poetry, identity, & queerness in Singapore is published in the Journal of Homosexuality. Her creative work has been published in & featured by venues from The Straits Times to American Banker to the Singapore Writers Festival to the Boston Poetry Slam to the Center for Fiction to the Academy of American Poets. Topaz is 22 years old & in her third year at Princeton University.

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