Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body, Part IV: Private Time Machine

March 27, 2018   •   By Chia-Lun Chang

THE FOLLOWING IS one of six pieces by former Emerging Poets fellows at Poets House in New York City. Each of the pieces engages with the Poetry Coalition’s 2018 initiative, “Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body.” Poets House invited the fellows to select five items from the House’s 70,000-volume library that address the theme of the body, and to write a paragraph or two on each of these items.


From Indonesia to Martinique, islands seem to embrace their private time machines. This essay will build the connection between the body of islands and the rest of the world through five aspects: realization, observation, balance, language — tangled with a movement and projection.

Lost Body by Aimé Césaire

In contrast to continents, islands have developed their ecosystem, archeology, philosophy in a vacuum. Realizing this devout magic from various islands can move human nature forward as Césaire demonstrates in this collection.

“Three poems” from Tin House by Ada Limón

These three poems depict the relationship between weather, time, and Limón’s body. Seeing oneself standing within seasons and motherhood as “my own body, empty, / clean of secrets” is possibly the best way to observe things surrounded and above us.

“please don’t trance your rabbit” from play dead by francine j. harris

Even the harmless animals reveal the deadliest desire from the nature of our own. I believe each demand comes for a reason, like several areas grow hair in my body and instead of killing the instinct, balancing it by learning to be numb is also strength.

Writing Entaglish by Kyoo Lee

Step by step, this chapbook combines reading materials and notes, invites us to Lee’s process of writing. From the material, as the old saying goes, “the ultimate rule to great English composition is simplicity,” to the notes that raise the possibility of “middling English / language,” such as the ground is deeply rooted so we can dance free. The content and container are tangled up and eventually the learner, us, walks on it to make this road.

Fusion Kitsch by Hsia Yü

A statement of where a human belongs, especially on islands can be an ineffable and bored predicament, just as a certain motion or atmosphere cannot be taught nor captured. Yet Yü did the creation in a unique way, so we now project in her dream. Her book presents an experience, like watching a documentary I’ve never seen before while living inside the scene.


The Problem of Meat Eating in the States

is not slaughter
from where I was

I stepped on a snail still
gobbled my morning mushy mucus vermicelli

fought for the fish eyeball with other kids

the average woman kills 12 chickens in exchange for pregnancy
my cousin's chicken had eggs stolen

throat cut, thrown into boiling water alive to remove its feathers
became the nutrition of my nephew

and I love to tickle his soles like holding chicken feet
I released my artificial propagation pet into the pond

my father taught me to finish everything on my goddamn plate
shape and carry each soul of animals to the hell

because he did not see a future
the only item I left was carrots

my problem of eating meat in the States is not
the poorest family drinks Coca-Cola or

Pepsi or feud belongs to the same clan or
the meat is shiny, smoothly, pinky, heavenly

beheaded and squared by a candy package
but who dares to say there’s no Santa Claus


Chia-Lun Chang is the author of One Day We Become Whites (No, Dear/Small Anchor Press, 2016). Born and raised in New Taipei City, Taiwan, she lives in New York City.