Self-Portrait, New City Replicant

Ching-In Chen
To heat a sister           	          House a burn

           adjust the replica body
                      in the yesterday travel rain

no sister locks the door 	at the highest temperature
three hours still parked 	still comfortable to eat  	sugar by force

only because each house keeps a burn together
       	   drinks the page            	An unseasoned tree
chosen to go to the sea

More by Ching-In Chen

A Natural History of My White Girl

after Mendi Obadike

When I was a white girl, I had no mother.

I drank whiskey, lived in a house with no walls.

Girls visited and marveled at my room to breathe.
When it was sunny, they let down their hair, drank fresh orange juice.

We drank all morning, didn’t go to class.
I knew which words to carry in the arsenal, which memory to disarm the most resilient bully.
Nobody bothered us or asked why we were missing.

I never doubted this was me. I knew how to pull up short, how to light my name under their skin.

There was no need for mirrors. No need to get free.

American Syntax

The teacher straightbacked,
faced me off, her eyes.
            My face in the cleave of
her shoulder, my bones
sitting high my cheek.
             The word proper
arrives in the hall.  The order
of things, rolling
neat into pine drawers, dead-
clean. Squeezed juice of greedy
sponge.
              Her teeth not match.
One chipped.  The corner lifted,
peeking a window, furtive.
              The other, pearl, round
and perfect, looming above my
arched head.  About to bite.

Simulacra

It's not that the rains have rolled back
up to the ceiling. It's not that the frost has stopped 
flirting with the dunegrass. My mother's eyes
are glass: she writes me what she sees there.  

Duck waddling highway, sideways
raccoon pus, mutant
sunflower with a yen for fertilizer.

She has no time for wordshit.  
Her older sister tells me my mother
doesn't understand much of poetry. Why
am I resistant?
	
The camera's already been here.

Related Poems

Becoming Weather, 21

                    I was out interviewing clouds         amassing
                    the notes of a sky pornographer    while patches


                                             of the city subnormalized
by fear of fear            like a reef bleaching closed


                    I took to the streets
                              looking for a human velocity

              feeling                 disequilibrium

                                         heavy in the abundance
                             of summer light
                                                       the silent apathy
              of stars     which is neither
                                              silent nor apathetic
I             am       becoming                 weather
                                                                                 and
              I don't
                               plan on doing
                                                                      it alone