Collective Unrest

 

area code 604

December 10, 2019

“I will comb it with my own claws,” said the dragon, “for I see that the child has hair the colour of gold, which is the only right colour for hair.”—Travel Light by Naomi Mitchison

Ed. Note #1: that dragon is racist as hell

Ed. Note #2: this poem could really be about anything you want

Ed. Note #3: how do you feel about a time-travelling consort finding love in a hopeless place

. . .

. . .

A whiteboy asks me to interpret his dreams
Why do I dream about my teeth falling out
I say it means you want me very badly
Another whiteboy heartbreaker asks what I do
I tell him I invented whiskey sours
I’m a sommelier for root vegetables
I run a book club for fans of One Direction
The screenwriter William Goldman said about Hollywood: “Nobody knows nothing”
He meant that even after a hundred-plus years of filmmaking
No one actually knows how to make a successful movie
Sure-things bomb & longshots win big
When it comes to us // nobody knows nothing

. . .

. . .

White people know all about the Stanford Prison Experiment
(Innocent) (An aberration) (For science)
But nothing about the Tuskegee Study
Or Wounded Knee
Or Chinese Exclusion
Or Japanese Internment
(Forget them) (They are yellow)
Karr was right to say: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
(The more things change, the more they stay the same)

. . .

. . .

White people who say they are “comfortable” really mean that they are richer than God
I find in your cabinet of bizarre curios
a delicate vial of four green leaves
Luminous, scalding, teasing, sentient, temperamental
Your lips ring with strange rain
Your tastebuds dance as I put myself on your tongue
My synapses sing like a suspect facing 20-to-life
You make me crumble // with your devastating gaze
Your dominant assertiveness meets my gentle yielding
Our labor of love

. . .

. . .

You make me giddy like I’m on horse tranquilizers
mess & quake // sting & salve
feeling my way through a dark theater
There is a house in Sumiyoshi-ku, Osaka
designed by Tadao Ando
with no exterior windows
because the owner wanted to feel
“not in Japan”
to compensate for lost light
an interior courtyard was created
In Japan “free size” means one-size-fits-all
Do you like my navy dufflecoat

. . .

. . .

Ecclesiastes said there’s nothing new under the sun
but there is always new joy to be felt // new delight to be found
though it’s hard to get excited about tomatoes
I memorized the riddles but not the answers // the tunes but not the words
You plant a flag // it’s one of passion, rigor, ambition, collisions, kinship
Today, Madame President, we’re all Adam and Eve and Steve

. . .

. . .

Whiteboy daddy longlegs
turn your face toward me
The face that could take a thousand lives
& murder me a million times
Belt loosened
You’re immortal
You on top & me feeling weightless
Pimp my affections for
your flawed shine
your intelligent design
your pizza-burn sensitivity
your dirt road and no map
your conscious uncoupling
your fecund loins and imagination
your tongue darting around my danger zone
your practiced mouth intimacy
& your massive quiet glory
You watch me swallow, eyes wide open
With a serious expression, you say with absolute sincerity,
Uber but for trust exercises

. . .

. . .


MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) hopes to win the New Jersey Blueberry Princess pageant one day. Michael strongly suspects that they were born in the wrong decade. A recovering vegan, their favorite ice cream flavor was almost renamed due to scandal. 

Their writing has been published or is forthcoming in Q/A Poetry, Yes Poetry, Typo Mag, Wrath-Bearing Tree, Bending Genres, Heavy Feather Review, Cabildo Quarterly, Neon Garden, Yellow Medicine Review, The Conglomerate, Kissing Dynamite, Little Rose, Milk + Beans, and elsewhere. 

They poet to feel alive.

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