Camera Obscura by Ting Wei Tai

This table wine is easy vintage,
A thin, filtered layer of age.
Washed out not with time
But abstruse equations, undoable with a click—
The real colours, fresh and vivid,
Just as when you captured them,
Then culled them for the unblinking eye.

Why don’t you show me the real thing?
It doesn’t need to be lost any more,
As you were lost in the past
When all the pictures turned gray
But not in this precise, restrained,
Tasteful way. Just right, this nostalgia.

There are no raw files
For the truly forgotten memories,
The ones where you are no longer sure
Whether you are remembering an image
Or inventing a wholly different monster-child.

Digital aging corrupts. The apple glitch
In God’s simulation, wherein we glimpse
Unreality, pieced through cracks:
Scrambled memories, indecipherable pixels,
Impersonal, alien and neon. What could
He have been thinking? Electric blue?
Purple? Green? Orange?

There was a city in the video, a city
In the way. Why is it
That each time you appeared
You were looking away? You may
Not be mine, but I can make
Your image replay the same movements
Like an automaton, the same movements
Like a sordid victory, the same movements
Like a sweet defeat.

This too may be immortality:
Being watched somewhere, by someone
Hiding in his camera obscura.




Ting Wei Tai was born in China and grew up in Singapore. He graduated from Raffles Institution and will begin his studies at Yale in 2015. His poetry has previously been featured in the Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Eunoia Review, and Eastlit.