READING THIS BOOK WAS A REMINDER OF THE DETAILS IN THE WORLD. IT WAS A KIND OF SENSORY AWAKENING. The best poetry that I’ve heard just makes me feel a little bit more alive for the time that I’m in it. I think that’s one of the things that we need the most, just to give ourselves a little bit of time to feel alive a little bit, instead of being on Instagram, even though I love Instagram.
And [it serves] also to name those strange sort of nameless feelings and experiences. I love the moments when I’m reading a poem when I’m like, “Yes, I do know what you are talking about. But I’ve never been able to name it before.”
Franny Choi will have a book release party for Floating, Brilliant, Gone at the Salon (57 Eddy St., Providence) at 6:00 pm on Saturday, April 5. For more info, go to frannychoi.com.
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Two poems by Franny Choi::
TO THE MAN WHO SHOUTED “I LIKE PORK FRIED RICE” AT ME ON THE STREET
you want to eat
me — out
of these jeans & into
something a little
cheaper. more digestible.
more bite-sized. more
come: i’m greasy for you.
slick my hair with MSG every morning.
i’m bad for you. red-light district
stuck in your teeth. taste like
a takeout box between
my legs. taste like dried squid.
lips puffy with salt. brimming
so call me
pork: curly-tailed obscenity
been playing in the mud. dirty meat.
worms in your stomach. give you
a fever. dead meat. butchered girl
chopped up & cradled in styrofoam
for you — candid cannibal.
want me bite-sized
no eyes to clog your throat.
but i’ve been watching
from the slaughterhouse
ever since you named me
edible. think you’re
the first to sit at this
table? to ask for a cookie
at the end? call yourself
archaeologist — any name
to thicken your jaw.
for my sow squeal
scream murder in molars.
feel salt awaken
my synapses. watch me kick
back to life. tentacles
& teeth. resurrected electric.
revenge — squirming alive
in your mouth
strangling you quiet
from the inside out.
[This poem was originally published in Poetry magazine.]
WHY WE BIKED FORTY MILES TO NARRAGANSETT
There are many reasons — the promise
of water, to offer one example —
but none burns so blood
as the good work of muscles pumping freight
over the earth; as the fact of engine in my knees
and all my lover’s inexplicable flesh
churning wind beside me.
The work of love
becomes its own reason; like the heart’s
relentless feedback loop, which is infinite
until it isn’t; like sweat, being only
(miraculously) itself, and worth it;
like the ocean, having been the ocean
long before we arrived, each wave
newborn and buried at once; like us,
standing breathless at the edge,
astonished by our own lungs.