Skip to content

Hot Desk Extract: Panda Wong

Read Monday, 12 Sep 2022

As part of the Wheeler Centre’s Hot Desk Fellowship programme, Panda Wong worked on salmon cannon be into the abyss, a collaborative poetry EP.

Share this content

Dedicated to my dad, who died in 2017, it features four tracks that piece together moments, scenes and sensations of grief and loss.

i wrote my poems in fragments—on my Notes app, receipts, scraps of paper, work documents, text messages, emails to myself. i recorded my poems by speaking into a microphone through a stocking stretched over a hanger, or on my geriatric iPhone. vocal processing changed my voice into new impressions and textures. found sounds reference both the precious and banal, such as pearl extraction, orchestra tuning, cicadas, a clicking mouse and shimmering.

in sending my recordings away to my friends for them to return as something new, i felt a sense of release.

– Panda Wong


Title of track: eternal phone lock screen image

Musical composition by Jamie Marina Lau.


eternal phone lock screen image

dad with head on hand on leg on chair

blue jeans and half smile

his precious fragile redundant body…

did you know pearls are the only precious gem

made by a living creature?

I’m recently obsessed w/ this TikTok channel pearl6680

montages of pearl extraction set to Lil Nas X’s Call Me by Your Name

an oyster spits a pearl out into the palm of pearl6680’s hand

reminds me of viral pimple popping videos

the way that pain can become a thing so totally foreign

like thinking you see the one that got away in the distance

and upon closer inspection

realising that instead

they are just a sculpture made

from mincemeat with wet

raisins for eyes…

unlock phone to see dad with

head on hand on leg on chair

something wild about how we proliferate

the technology’s blasé void with the

endless dandruff of our memories

something tender about how young he looks

in this photo where I wasn’t born yet

the way the future is pouring out of his face…

I’m reading about how pearls are a defence mechanism

layers upon layers of a crystalline

secretion called nacre build up

encasing any threat to the mollusc

like how Julietta Singh wrote

extreme physical pain swallows its object

this isn’t some trite analogy about how pain can become beauty

or a sad Disney metaphor for its lifechanging qualities

or the tired rag narrative of what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger

it’s about how it is consumed…

it’s about how it is digested…

it’s about how it is accumulated…

dad with head on hand on leg on chair

his life a pearl I hold between my teeth

I keep feeling and feeling with my tongue

for that elusive fuzz


Artwork by Amy Yu

Stay up to date with our upcoming events and special announcements by subscribing to the Wheeler Centre's mailing list.

Privacy Policy

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.