Two poems by Michael Chang

untitled unicorn poem

Good things never last, bad things never die”—John Darnielle
Why must we be so intent on destroying everything we touch?”—Joe Brainard
Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies”—Gwendolyn Brooks

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1.

The voices say: They call you sissy when your mouth is full.
     But you’re undeterred, resolute.

We’re berries on adjacent stems.
     Look how we match.

We’re scoops in a cone.
     Look how we melt.

In bed together.
     Checking email.

I’d be a happy stay-at-home mom.
      If you were the hot-at-work dad.

We’d be expressive & loving & never mean to our kids.
     Avery & Ben & Cal & Deacon & Noah.

Didn’t really have that, personally.
     Azn parents & all.

But now that I think about it.
     Your parents probably weren’t that expressive either.
     Strict disciplinarians & all.

Our kids with their chores (your idea) & allowances (mine)
     & devices (yours) & extracurriculars (mine)

I’d let you help with the plumbing.
     My plumbing.

     & fixins & woodshop & building things & you’re good with your hands & wow you’re really
     good & hang on let me put down this spatula/apron/cookbook/pastry/edible/gummy bear.

2.

Having said that, why would I be jealous of her husband who is a trucker altho labor is the backbone of the American economy and I had to resign my club membership since they don’t let women in unless they are named Cunilingus Rice I did not vote for Romney altho I told some people I did hahaha suckers buckle up pork chop.  I think about what my grandfather, one of Chiang Kai-shek’s generals, would say about you. Or what your forebear, no bullshit, George Washington, would say about me. He’d probably say Suck it in hunny like in Little Miss Sunshine and my grandfather would say Don’t make me go ghetto on you.  Gurl you betta check if your subscription to Good Housekeeping is current b/c you are a mess tucking is not a talent we are farmers dum dum dum whatever their jingle is Like a good neighbor State Farm is there dun dun dun the cases are real the rulings are final.  You taught me what a carrel was as in library carrel real eloquent like do you mean the place I was never at and how do you like being caucasian.  I know the neighbors talk about me my sunglasses my hair my clothes No no no you say pause So what if they do They should only have good things to say & I don’t care & you are too hard on yourself & you wake up everyday full of hope & optimism & effervescence effervescence? who talks like that Mmm every night is pizza night when I’m with you that sounds delicious Ronkonkoma & Kokomo & sex is something people do at night right? yes something people in love do you cup my cheek gently like you would cradle a ladybug that reminds me I dreamt you told a bad joke about Barbara Ann once what? that doesn’t sound like me to joke about the Beach Boys mm I think you’re due for a shave & a haircut mister Remember remember the fifth of Movember.  Sometimes I wake up to you vibrating next to me I’ve always noticed that Americans (by this I mean white) breathe much louder & heave & sigh like something out of Detroit; Azns tend to be more quiet, silent but deadly, haha, like a German manufacture.

3.

Dead ass, low key, I think I love you.
     We’re chips & salsa, we’re Flo & Rida, we’re Filene & basements.
     Try to think of a better matchup.
     I dare you.  I’ll wait.

In heaven.
     Will you flinch when I stroke your cheek?
     Will you stick your tongue in my mouth & say a prayer for me?
     Do they have prayers in heaven?

I am calling just to say.
     I am not able to attend your funeral due to a prior commitment.
     I send flowers & regrets.
     Did you get everything you wanted?

Since you’re getting better at dying, my dear, so full of love.
     I’ll see you at the next one.  I’ll wait.

The closer a creature is to perfection / the more it feels, both pleasure and pain”—Dante Alighieri, Inferno

whiteboy abecedarian

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/albinos with torches white robes but no karate aimee wrote one called Hummingbird Abecedarian /bird box samson bet you didn’t think I would write one too breezy 4eva /cathy called hers Abecedarian Western /dope but I think mine is pretty cool too don’t make me say it /expectant teenage boy in the buffalo check /forced to bloom /growling & God never gives you anything you can’t handle /hollow & indecisive /I imagine what his little face will look like twisted in ecstasy I want him to—; /just a pair of purple nylon shorts yellow strip on the side face flushed & startled & pierced /kill my complicity /lure me out salt on watermelon /make promises wondrous apricots faceless in joy /no mercy like an eggroll and voice for radio who am I to judge /ooooo outside agitator particle accelerator /pretty dimpled boys with playboy bunny ears dead prince college /queen of reinvention who else madonna /raf simons riffing about impenetrable jaguars & la casa roja pls /smiling cupid whiteboy flash me your solidarity sí, se puede /texas-sized—; /u up? /very good & very legal /what you post to be white cheddar—nas said worst enemies want to be my best friends—nas also said what’s this white shit on that plate and your face? /x marks the spot they say don’t hunt what you can’t kill but your fur’s still warm /you can’t see my greatness you a member of the communist party? they ax on the citizenship test /zucker meaning rachel is a whack ass white lady who apologizes too much—the only white lady I like is the kind up my nose speaking of delusions of whiteness Would you die for someone you’ve only met once? White people love saying they’re looking for a “partner in crime” because they know they’ll never be held accountable for actual criminal acts. Harvey Weinstein was one of the most praised people in Hollywood he was personally name-checked in at least 34 Academy Awards acceptance speeches from 1993 through 2016 that’s as much as God—and more than almost anybody else * * * * * *

::Spielberg—43 times  ::God—34 times  ::Weinstein—34 times  ::Cameron—26  ::Jackson—21
::Lucas—20  ::Scorsese—10 

::we’ll file this one under fuck no—like Martin Sheen I only produce winners I’ve been tired since 1980 bande à part Is the greatest feeling in the world when a str8 white bro requests to connect with you on LinkedIn?

Michael Chang (they/them) is the proud recipient of a Brooklyn Poets fellowship. They were invited to attend the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop at Kenyon College as well as the Omnidawn Poetry Writing Conference at Saint Mary’s College of California. Their writing has been published or is forthcoming in Yellow Medicine Review, The Summerset Review, The Broadkill Review, Heavy Feather Review, UCityReview, Chiron Review, Thirty West, Map Literary, Armstrong Literary, Fine Print, Kweli Journal, Love’s Executive Order, Funny Looking Dog Quarterly, Glass Mountain, Straylight, Juked, Rigorous, Thin Air, ellipsis… literature & art, and many others.  


Image: “Leviathan” by Matthew Klein


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