05-13-2019

Victoria Chang

BARBIE CHANG’S TEARS

 

Barbie Chang’s tears are the lights of

the city that go off on

 

off on Mr. Darcy walks around the city

but Barbie Chang can’t

 

follow him she can’t promote herself

if she had legs she would

 

stop begging if she had hands she would

stop her own wedding

 

the city has no extra bedding it is not

ready yet the maids are

 

still making beds Barbie Chang is still

looking for small openings

 

there are always storms long arms drinks

with pink umbrellas

 

because they know she is confused like a

sea horse light avoids her

 

town on the map B2 C4 she wants to

be used she doesn’t

 

want to be with you or you it is morning

again and she is already

 

mourning the men the night men who

never fight who never

 

write back she prefers to sleep on her

back so she can see the

 

eyes of her attackers in the morning

a bed with questions

 

with her depression on each side two

small holes from knees

 

 

BARBIE CHANG WAITS

 

Barbie Chang waits for Mr. Darcy to

reappear he is her

 

hound he hunts her every 43 days

Barbie Chang has

 

eaten with 129 forks since then 86

bowls of rice she still

 

has not achieved fame it still rains

every day in her brain

 

she still falls asleep in clubs playing

techno music

 

her head receives the beat her head

is a music stand

 

the conductor taps it with a lightning rod

her brain metals all

 

night it materials into Mr. Darcy they

hold hands into the room

 

two fools who think this will last

they will eventually

 

be the past too she bites his neck like

a flea but he doesn’t

 

swat her off there is no sweat because

the scene is not real she

 

has been here before on the other twin

bed twining another body

 

but always thinking of Mr. Darcy she

always wakes in the same

 

place the same room outside could be India

could be a windy hallway of

 

a hotel room with carpet worn from

heavy pets at 20 she

 

bought $40 nail clippers full

of hope now she clips

 

twenty little fingers and twenty little

toes her daughter wants

 

to grow her hair out when it is finally

long she will be gone

 

 

THEN BARBIE CHANG

 

Then Barbie Chang and Mr. Darcy

are in the backseat

 

of a car kissing not the light kind

but one where their

 

hands are on each other’s cheeks

holding each other’s

 

heads as if they will fall off why does

so much love come at

 

the beginning then disappear then

once again at the

 

moment before death why can’t the

same kind exist in between in

 

the breaths in the afternoon

in the sitting room

 

little girls dress like princesses one pink

one blue one yellow they

 

wear plastic heels because they still think

they will never fall

 

-From Barbie Chang, Copper Canyon, 2017, selected by POW Spring 2019 Guest Editor, Vandana Khanna

Prompt: As in Victoria Chang's poems, take two figures from pop culture (a Decepticon and Sherlock Holmes; Grendel and Nicole Kidman; Nat King Cole and _____; you get the idea) and see what happens when the two interact. Have fun with this, and, as some images and scenes and metaphors emerge, start thinking about what these two figures and how they interact say about you, our time, our culture. Enjoy!

Bio: VICTORIA CHANG new book of poetry, OBIT, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in April 2020.  Her most recent book, Barbie Chang was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2017. The Boss (McSweeney’s) won a PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Her other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle.  She also edited an anthology, Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. Her poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, American Poetry Review, POETRY, Believer, New England Review, VQR, The Nation, New Republic, Tinhouse, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a MacDowell Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, a Poetry Society of America Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart, and many other awards.  She is a contributing editor of the literary journal, Copper Nickel and a poetry editor at Tupelo Quarterly. Her children’s picture book Is Mommy? (Simon & Schuster), was illustrated by Caldecott winner, Marla Frazee and was named a NYTNotable Book.  Her middle grade verse novel, Love Love was recently accepted for publication. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and her weiner dogs, Mustard and Ketchup.  She works with a team to run Antioch University’s MFA Program, as well co-coordinates the Idyllwild Writers Week.  She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board. She graduated from the University of Michigan, Harvard, Stanford (MBA), and Warren Wilson (MFA).