Bio: Jonathan Chan is a writer, editor, and graduate student at Yale University. Born in New York to a Malaysian father and South Korean mother, he was raised in Singapore and educated in Cambridge, England. He is interested in questions of faith, identity, and creative expression. He has recently been moved by the writing of Don Mee Choi, Boey Kim Cheng, and Henri Nouwen.
at the Mekong to consider the weight of riparian thinking,consider a farmer, perchedby the banks of duskier lifeblood,hands cradling a withered sapling. consider her song, awail of perishing, masked notby the whine of fighter jets, but the fixity of silence, bendingin the heat. consider the bite of stagnancy, the reverse flowof monsoon water held by shuddering concrete, the suspension of sediment andwarm, shallow oxygen. consider the contours of liquid modernity:fluvial, pelagic, abyssal,fluministic, pulsating, entropic,and still. consider the stillness. ten thousand fish overturned.basin-bearing mouths drinkingair. deltas growing compact tothemselves. the motors: churning,curdling, upstream.
when the weight of all that is inthe world comes upon me, as ifall this air has been throttled fromme, eye quivering to behold the daily sputtering of smog and ash, the way the bolts of lightning draw closerand closer, the liquid grief that seesoff a vanishing glacier, the snarl andspittle rumbling off of every splitatom, and the trails of coursing flame, raining on the rubble that was once known as home, i utter only, on trembling knees: kyrie eleison, Lord, please, have mercy.