Monday, November 30, 2009

Victoria Chang, "Man 4"

Victoria Chang

Man 4


A young pop star with curly hair. I wonder if we are holding hands because I love him or because I am about to arm wrestle him. Arms turn into thumbs. One, two, three, four, let’s have a thumb war. Thumbs turn into lips. Lips turn into kissing. But his kiss does not breathe life into me like a bicycle pump. There is no happily ever after, happily, or ever. Just or. When I am bored with the dream, I can end the dream. When I am bored with the man, I can end the man. When a child is bored with a book, she flips quickly through the pages and says: The End.


The homes here almost touch. But this country house has trees and nothing else. It is a prose yellow. It has rooms that are for carrying out activities. Everything leads us back to one room. In the room are white baskets labeled 1T, 2T, and 3T, but the boxes are empty. The children are missing. Outside, a large pond. When he sees it, he jumps in. I stand on the dock. We talk like that for hours. I stand over the side but do not touch the water. Everything slows down so that I can see the water hooking onto air, becoming air so easily. Soon the water only reaches his ankles. We talk about our families and nothing else. The water makes my hair wet. The water pulls me down. The water weighs down the crows. They start dropping from the sky like lungs. One hits me on my chest and becomes my heart. A black oily dirty thing. A small child runs up to my leg and hugs it, says mama, until she looks up and sees she has grabbed the wrong leg. Like me, she can love anyone but won’t.


Fountains fall from the sky because our children call them, these oceans imprisoned by concrete that have forgotten they are oceans. My body has become finite too. My body has become a shape with a set of edges. My tubular, my fastener, my resin body. People throw coins at it and use it to make wishes. It has been mapped and intersected, looped into an O, then cut and retied. It has been employed by men and wounded by reefs. If someone’s husband says we could be a couple, he is testing the ropes. The ropes surround me, are in me, their length of fibers twisting together to improve me, not to corrupt me. But what if what is there is already nervous, unnetted, winding around in the wind? My baby smiles when she sees my face. Because it is her first face and device. At birth, replace it with another and see where she looks.


We are on the roof of his house, the sound of horns and drums under parcel leaves, crowds cheering, propelling forward an oval ball into a U-shaped fork. Winter has not yet heard of me. Waiters still feel superior in their looking down. A man is still interesting as a ship. A roof is still more than the upper surface of a house. On the roof, the man tells me about his dreams about me. Not the concierge kind, but the wet kind, the torrential kind. I don’t understand but begin to love him while my boyfriend punches a hole into a wall. Even in my dreams, I mistaken semen for semantics, thinking grammatically correct means semantically congruent, as in, the woman is pregnant and the man is pregnant, as in, the man likes me and the man loves me.

Victoria Chang’s second book of poems, Salvinia Molesta, was published in 2008 by the University of Georgia Press as part of the VQR Poetry Series and was a finalist for the Commonwealth California Book Award. Her first book, Circle, won the Crab Orchard Open Competition Award and was published by the Southern Illinois University Press in 2005 and won the Association of Asian American Studies Book Award. She lives in Irvine, California.

RECONFIGURATIONS: A Journal for Poetics & Poetry / Literature & Culture, http://reconfigurations.blogspot.com/, ISSN: 1938-3592, Volume Three (2009): Immanence/ Imminence

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