Wo Chan is a 2015 AAWW Margins Fellow. Wo challenges binaries, questions the conceit of “normal,” and examines the intersectionality of gender, sexuality, race, and otherness. When Wo revises poems, the poem not only undergoes editorial changes but also further complicates itself by engaging in fresh conversations with new ideas. The poem “such as” is at once one poem and three; the motif of yellowness makes us think about the color’s infinite symbolic possibilities, and the varied forms ask us to pay attention to how language is manipulated. “such as” is illustrative of the poet’s ability to transform, transfuse, or fasten one concept to the other.
Meet our other Margins fellows here, and check back to read more of Wo’s work.
fever collection of pages
macaroni and a quick brick
damp floor a cracked saucer
of children and lost suburbs
school bus of nostalgia the oxbone kingdom
a river a yolk
certain type of happiness
of bright butter
ripe lemon dry urine
what to do when someone sings
so sweetly an epithet
is singing so sweetly beside you
your epithet smiling and joyous
this god bless american
name a celebration
so heavenward and wrong
it touches me
to learn again and again
that this is my body my dear and only body
one lovely chink in the whole damn night.
My mother was a fever. My father was a restaurant.
Every noon he fed his lungs to an entire city.
Every night he held my belly searching for a suburb.
I was the firefly that flared only once in my father’s kingdom.
I learned to speak English like a quick brick road. I split
rocks in the backlot of my father’s skull.
I picked dandelions from the underarms of him, my father.
I was the smell of ripe lemons in his oxbone nation. I was never
brave. But, he let me eat butter, held me like an egg. I was pure yolk,
and ate everything with my monster eye.
Oh. Did I mention my mother was the fever? That was my father, actually.
Still my father pressed against the doorframe.
My father was always the fever and always the restaurant.
My father whose splintered shoulders knew the words to one anthem only.