Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé

Two Questions Between Two Roundtable Discussions

Just now, Desmond Kon (Shangxin-Yuèmu) asked Desmond Kon (Zixu-Wuyǒu) this question: “Do you believe in purple prose or do you just like the cover of Tzvetan Todorov’s Symbolism and Interpretation?” To which I replied matter-of-factly, “Look, over there, purple angularity in that sign, purple haze in your Jimi Hendrix eye, purple in that lenticulus cloud in this evening sky. Look, look, purple like a petunia over my Smoky Martini, its soft four-petal crunch the same way Philip Guston told me wild strawberries go splendidly with pink champagne. Purple in peach schnapps in my Fuck-Me-Sideways recipe, purple in magenta which likely accounts for every other CMYK colour between Gutenberg and Serkland’s Acrobat, hand-built before the velvet stripes over perfect terra sig. Look, purple in your Donegal Tweed, purple in your purple yoga mat beside purple pilates unitard, purple on Lady Gaga and her ‘Speechless’ and ‘So Happy I Could Die’ that you have on repeat, over and over again, till I go purple-and-blue in this pixellating long-ago face. Purple purpling like clarity and pride and a parade all over Van Gogh’s oils, his lavender orchard softly trundling, undulation upon undulation, its purple aslant, looking out into Arles.”


I woke up today to abstinence, refraining from crack-of-dawn sex, because libido is ab-fantastic for tapping the Orphic muse. I’ll be sleeping in my own Murphy bed tonight, alone, what with this inner city retreat expecting lights-out at nine. Not a pickle situation, given that 70% of art historiographers in this Abstract Expressionist painting live in public housing, albeit in living spaces ranging from a Glory-box studio to a double-storeyed apartment. Think of them as high-rise villages, tiered but loosely bound, and perfect for what I’m calling “Sandwich Wallism: The Poetics of Confined Spaces”. It’s myo-nouveau theory, percolating like my partner’s prose after reading After Poststructuralism: Reading, Stories and Theory, thank every dreamy notion for Colin Davis, his staggering, dripping intellect like Wittgenstein writing into his notebook, “It all depends on settling what distinguishes the proposition from the mere picture”. Who said “let Jeremy Bentham floss in private behind black-out curtains in his Pleasantville model home of Truman-Show proportions?" Who will walk in with Wallace Stevens and together intone: “Say that it is a crude effect, black reds, / Pink yellows, orange whites, too much as they are / To be anything else in the sunlight of the room.”

Desmond Kon Zhicheng-Mingdé has edited more than 10 books and co-produced 3 audio books, several pro bono for non-profit organizations. His work in lifestyle and developmental journalism took him to Australia, Cambodia, France, Hong Kong and Spain, and saw him writing numerous stories, including features on Madonna, Björk and Morgan Freeman. Trained in book publishing at Stanford, with a theology masters in world religions from Harvard and fine arts masters in creative writing from Notre Dame, Desmond is a recipient of the Singapore Internationale Grant, awarded to launch the anthology For the Love of God at the First Prague International Poetry Festival. His poetry and prose have appeared or are forthcoming in AGNI, Blackbird, Confrontation, Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, New Orleans Review, Sonora Review, Seneca Review, and Versal. Also working in clay, Desmond sculpts commemorative ceramic pieces for his Potter Poetics Collection. These works are housed in museums and private collections in India, the Netherlands, the UK and the US.

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