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So let go, you are

Fake in a green carpet
Gentle in a bombast
Stinky inside a blanket

Yesterday you went to the house of cards with a bird in your stomach. Flying above
the roof, the feathers made you cough.

Let my

Honesty drive you to the purest sea
Grumpiness give you an unlimited outline
Hypocrisy donate your demand to a traitor

Today you arrive in the gardenia. Your vehicle, a pinwheel. But our dreck doesn't
come true. The delivery service sends you a thorny compliment.

You are holding my insecurity in exchange for your own identity.
You have been to thousands of islands but you have only earned a ship.

Tomorrow you will land on my chest with a slice of waterside. You will sleep tight
with my spelling of lullaby. You draw a landscape, addressed to me, and then you
put in a statue of dignity.









Rumor Says

You left a grey lipstick back in our hometown. Rumor says you will not come back
for it.

Rumor says very well

Rumor says taking a boat is romantic, but
                        you take a plane


You left windows opened in the bedroom. Teddy bear says you will never come

Teddy bear calls you a rattlesnake

Teddy bear says it’s staying at the same season, but
                                you dangle your car keys


Umbrellas sing an off-key melody. Reeds broadcast around your location.

Reeds recline into a circle in the lobby

Reeds spin a yarn about your divorce certificate before
              you fall into water


You scratched and dropped several white hairs. Sand paper says you will not

Sand paper asks you to have a one-minute lunch

Sand paper makes an appointment with the oldest corner vendor, but
                       you forget to bring your spicy tongue

You recorded rumors and filled in our wash machine. Would your

Zip codes gamble

Zip codes move (has it been that long)


I recorded a message in your cup before you finished oxygen

Dust hugs you

Dust keeps a grey lipstick in our hometown. Rumor loses your number










To make friends with writers:

chew salmon after chopping off his head, cutting off his armor and plucking out the

wear a shirt after the young female worker sews saliva and mucous in, folds it, and irons it
with her bruised nails

starve a mouse after catching him on a glue bored, roll his face over, tear the skin
apart and put another glue board on

dip a spoon of honey after ordering a hive online, feeding bees in spring,
anesthetizing their tongues and poisoning them to the death in the winter

drink a cup of coffee every afternoon after the coffee bean picker collecting 120
pounds in the rainforest, sweating on slippery bare feet and stumbling home
in the heat

swallow your egg after a hen sat without claws, breathless, plumageless, musing
about her babies

add gas to your Mazda after the pipeline transports it under the seabed, under the
mountain cardio, under the highway, under your tree house and the dining table









The Scar

He crouches to kiss my scar on my right knee softly and raises his head to sniff my
blue shirt. He does not know that I am looking at him with an unknown sentiment.
The odor of his neck, the color of his skin and the sentences from his mouth all
belong to me at this moment. He looks back at me with a pair of glistening animal-like
black pupils.

The scar is pink and dark brown. Like a little monster reborn, it roars on my body. I
got it in a car accident. That year summer was hotter than any summer before. I
had just come back from a southern kingdom, my body still smelling like fish
sauce, sea breeze and aimless traveling. But the adults said it was the time to settle
down, so my auntie found a job for me. I began a routine life like a hamster in her

No one knows what happens under the sea. When the surface is calm and
peaceful, something may be growing underneath.

I started to go to sleep on time, and food tasted like paper. I read the newspaper but
pretended nothing had happened in my little and narrow world. I talked politely to
everybody and I rode my scooter faster and faster. I thought there had to be an exit
to this life and I tried so hard to find it. But every morning was still a nightmare

I knew it was going to happen, but just did not expect when. I felt one part of my
brain tear and call, “bleeding is better than boredom.” Maybe I was just waiting.
The morning was as hot as usual. The traffic light turned red, and I thought I had
one more lucky chance. I sped up the throttle, and suddenly a row of soldiers came
out. From a side street I turned my steering wheel to the left and my scooter
instantaneously slipped on the ground. Sunshine beamed directly into my eyes. I
was lying on the ground with my wounded body and the sky was an extremely
beautiful cyan-blue from that angle, just like the summer before. I had not seen any
color for a while because I did not even think about raising my head to the sky.

After the accident, I quit my job and now I am lying on his arm sobbing for no
reason. Both of us are drunk on a bottle of red wine.

He says, “It is okay, everything is going to be fine.” With his deep voice, he gently
calls my name. Both of us know it is a lie, but we live in this lie. And we need the
lie, like a baby needs amniotic fluid. Just as when you go swimming, you need
water to move through; we rely on lies, and then we can keep going on. It is not
fine. I know I have to find a job as soon as possible or my family will be angry and
I will be broke.

But I am not in a rush. I am lying and listening for something to happen. I am
looking at the wall and waiting for something to happen. I am sitting by the side of
the wind and waiting for something to happen. Nothing happens but the birds are
singing, the kettle is emitting clouds of steam, the ants are walking across the
wooden table, the dictionary whispers, the chairs are posted as sentries, the flowers
are blooming, the soap is exuding a smell, and the tap is dropping its tears and my
scar is waiting to be kissed.

I want to hurt him so badly. But I decide to lie on his arm, kiss his scar back and









I Am a Racist Dwarf

Staring at her face is not making any changes
The material is more important than the final work
I hate my parents because I hate parts of myself
Phobia while I am sitting in an exotic restaurant
My personal issues come from the bright lotion
She has a fancy British accent, and she is from Mississippi
Sentences I say with my accent can always make them laugh
I am tired of those sounds
He has never heard of Tunisia
I did not know it was in Africa
We are all from Africa, except Koreans
Black people don’t even want to live in Harlem
The waiter repeats my order several times to confirm
I refuse to try harder to make you impressed
The only way to impress you is to study at the library so I stand outside of the gate
            of the public library one day
It is a revolution that they invented airplanes
I wish I had never been to Vietnam and France
It should be iridescence
Nice people can be the meanest people
Black girls really know how to move nicely
Chinatown is always the dirtiest area in the city
Mixed-color couples will take this city
He speaks French well because he is Cambodian
Pride destroys others
I sense that the receptionist does not listen to me
The scent of curry reminds me of my Indian ex-boyfriend
Interrupting means that I don't care what you said
Have you been to the Metropolitan Opera House, you’re so white
See the line over there? Only white people go to art exhibitions
Let’s open a bottle of red wine to celebrate this wonderful night
Excuse me, what did you just say
My girlfriend was born in the States but she is European inside
Australia is another land full of English speakers and whites
I love to leave tips in a Chinese restaurant
I like big butts and I cannot lie
Russia kicked me out because I’m a dark skinned Rumanian
Oh my God, she has a beautiful skin color
Can you move to Paris without speaking French
I will move to Thailand because I love Thai food, not Taiwanese food, sorry, I’m
            not going to read newspapers, watch TV, go to temple, wear a yellow shirt
            and join the anti-government and pro-government rallies
Your hair is like horsehair
I have asked them to reserve this table at the jazz bar for years
Comparison makes you feel better, doesn’t it?
The chicken sandwich you are eating now is my meat
I am counting where people come from when I am sitting in front of them in the
            subway, and usually I am wrong
                                                 One, two, three, four, five
Walking into a whole white room makes me sweat
Sitting alone in the middle of a large black sofa marks me a loser
Sipping a cup of yellow tea makes me blind
Minority is a percentage on the board that lets you sleep tight
Scientists say Asians have the smallest penises
Those models from Victoria Secret had plastic surgery, so I checked the price to see
            if I wanted to
                                                     Have a white body
                                                     Build a taller nose
                                                     Touch myself softly
                                                     Have a mixed baby
                                                     Lengthen my eyelashes
                                                     Get my green card to


                                                                 Love songs
Beautiful baby
                                                                 Smart baby
                                                                                                                           Blessed baby


I live in a ghetto and I’m a doctor so I hang out with the white black Asian Mid-East
You want to fool around yourself because you are on the top
Stereotypes don’t kill you. They make you stronger
My child doesn’t know Ewe and I can’t write in English
                                                           border free







W       h       i       t       e       f       l       i       e       s


Chia-Lun Chang

Chia-Lun Chang is the author of Prescribee (2022), winner of the Nightboat Poetry Prize, and two chapbooks, An Alien Well-Tamed (Belladonna*, 2022) and One Day We Become Whites (No, Dear, 2016). She has received support from Jerome Foundation, Vermont Studio Center, Tofte Lake Center, Poets House, and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (Sarah Verdone Writing Award 2022, Governors Island Arts Center residency 2021; Process Space 2017) among others. Chia-Lun teaches contemporary Taiwanese poetry and fiction at the Brooklyn Public Library. Born and raised in New Taipei City, Taiwan, she lives in Brooklyn.


The Brooklyn Rail

MAR 2015

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