Poetry: April 17, 2015


  1. Reification

her encasement remains

in this undissolving shadow

the embodied desire of an unseen nation

and to be her, the ostension, looks very much

like being human

or the object

which, awake and mute

is shut


  1. Empire

and outside in the garden

the little girls sprout

tiny teeth in wet

cavernous mouths, tasting

tender iron, plucking

at fingertip skin

their eyes emit


the winter abrogates

and you, with your

frozen feet, cracking palms,

your angry dreams of

ripping raw meat, sinking

sharp teeth with abandon

and the mouth that opens howling for you

  1. A Thousand Plateaus

This is the story where

In Home Depot I fuck a Home Depot

employee and

swallow America whole

  1. Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

and on the other side

of the computer this body has maintained

laughter for weeks despite

the failure of empathy

this one looks for proof

as if in pe

rforming hunger

a body could feel almost


in this electric world

—Jessica Yuan


I did this hatefully and with language.

I wanted to be seen as understanding art

but I have wanted art to transcend me.

The painting is before me, the artist to my left,

I do not take off my coat, I say, I love this.

I have read aloud enough poems to know

it is not a moment of nakedness

though it promises so much.

I ask him:

“Do you think you will ever be understood,

completely, effortlessly, is that something

you want; do you, also, feel it everyday.”

And he said yes, and I don’t believe him.

I am at the painting again. The walls are white,

the ceiling is white. The painting has color.

The painter has a business card, it has

his address and his email. I insult him, I display an

attempt at functionality in my own field of study.

I write that it is a question of vocabulary,

it is also about posture. I know about these things:

men (cocaine, and freedom). I’ve seen them in the movies

and I try on that kind of acting, like

“yes, I’m thinking that” although no one

can be an anarchist anymore, at night I fantasize

performing anarchy as if it were alive.

In the gallery, there are no chairs; everything

is white, except the painting; my shoes are

quiet, I leave my jacket on the floor; mostly I do not

assume it has meaning. I write, “this means

liberation from meaning.” I write, “it is painful

to be looked at so much.” I write, “it is torture

to be made into words” after all, this is

about representation, about language,

and the failure of language.

I demand, “Explain your art!” “Understand me!”

the radiator is on and I am filled with

loathing. My authors tell me, “we often succumb

calmly to temptation, even with finesse.”

I want to write about this and even then it is

mediated by hatred and longing and desire,

and I want this as potential: the last utopia

is the body, behind language, a solid thing at least

though I have so much to say. I say too much

about a simple thing like touch, when to be

made known is to signify as well as

to take possession, to intend. Why do I

want that, this poem throwing words at words.

—Jessica Yuan

Bathing Machine

Queen Victoria!

Name of names, stamped onto Canada, Australia, Seychelles

carved out of Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda

The children at the hem of your blue-sashed gown

will find themselves each a district of Europe

First monarch before the lens

Crown perched like a gazebo

Widowed face like granite

Osborne House is thick with shady oak

You place a hand on the railing

ascend the steps

and enter the cabin a queen

Someone fumbles with a clasp

in the dark

but says nothing

You say nothing

The cabin rolls

A foot, a calf, now at your thighs

the sea laps, eddies as you depart

Forward! the English haze blurs Gosport from the horizon

The herring gull circles and sings your praise

—David Rossler

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