Two Poems by Jenny Zhang

I am pure emotion and you must pour me
into something pure I shall take what I want
including the faces of pretty women

Home of the Bill T. Jones / Arnie Zane Company


Payton 2 2012 Web Body

Austin Power, Payton 2, 2012, watercolor on paper, 13.5×11.5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist.

The Universal Energy Is About to Intervene in Your Life

I am pure emotion and you must pour me
into something pure I shall take what I want
including the faces of pretty women
this way the standards for beauty will be instantly changed
this way the standards for faces will want new standards
the nerves in each face will stand on innards
inside me is every pregnant belly
and all the aborted children
play in the same playground
they don’t care that they were aborted
they don’t care that the stars were not created for them
they don’t care that they had selfish mothers
who could have been transformed
if only they had not aborted their children
though now the world is perfectly populated
each time the future is predicted
someone dies for no reason
this is how I became a ghoul
this is how I became a gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah
this is how I became a guuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh
this is how I became a gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaash
drinking the goo goo water
because of goo goo
I decide that no one lives for anyone else
I will live for me
I will die thanks to unconditional love
I want to ask my mother why she loved me
I want her to ask her mother why she loved her
I want her mother to ask her mother why she loved her
there are too many centuries of mothers loving their mothers
and I will be the first one to love myself more than I love my mother
I will be the first one to think about myself
my belly is flat because I forgot to have babies
I said if I live to 99 I am gonna eat mercury
but then I ate it when I was 9
and I lived one more year
and then I ate mercury
and then I lived one more year
and then I ate mercury
and then my children swam out of my cunt lips like fish
and I had the doctor sew me up
so food had to enter
the same way it came out
I lived like this for centuries
they said I could go on and I said
do I look like I would stop
and they said stop
and I said waaaaaaaaaht
and they said stop
and I said waaaaaaaaaaaaht
and this is what someone told me was mortality
in a nutshell
and I didn’t want to believe it
but what else did I have to believe?
What else is there for us?
Those of us who cannot breathe
Those of us who cannot have babies
We want to mean something to the world
We want to be told: stay here
you are needed
and we are needed
someone needs us
They called for us to live this way and so I did and so I did
and so I did.

MY BABY FIRST BIRTHDAY

say something say something
if you see something say something
H1N1
each one teach one
because of avian flu my stupid cunt cousin
could not get an education
on your stupid cunt shores
where my mother sold her house
to give me a stupid cunt education
where I learned about social entrepreneurship
that it is a good thing
to give pencils to mothers
who are incarcerated
they can take those pencils and break them
in their stupid cunts
I bail out every one of those cunts
for ten grand a pop
they run rampant
like you fucking know what it’s like
my detachable pussy is not afraid of being
approached by a man late at night
who is like hey girl
you don’t need none of that
you look good without makeup
and I feel very sexy
because my cunt gets leashed to a tree
and waves hello to everyone
like hi like hi like hi hi hi
each one teach one
I teach each one to have one more
so in case this cunt dies
I have another
in case this man marries me
I can still fuck
I can still go to jail for fucking
I can still go to jail for not fucking
I can still go to jail for having everything
I can still go to jail and have it all
and have nothing
and wake up to my detached body intact
in this way you are never alone
in this way you are never translated
I said to say stop if you speak chinese
but it’s worse to be visible than it is to be invisible
you see me and then tell my friend
she looks exactly like me
well she looks exactly like me
because she is me
and I’m also me
and I’m visible ya cunt
I’m miserable ya hero
I’m miserable and I speak perfect English
on the phone you agree
in person you ask me where I’m from originally
I seppuku on the spot and you are like
OK STOP
and I am like OKAY I STOPPED
and like there’s no more
and like there’s just that now
and like I am totally fine
and like I am gonna do it again
and like your poetry gives me a motherly halo
and like I am gonna have babies and get someone else to look after them
and like I’m dead but you won’t stop
until my cunt re-attaches itself to my body
and that’s when I will cease to go outside
and that’s when I will cease to fear anything
you walk like a hero and I praise you
in front of my family
the only ones who know me
and I don’t have time for less thoughts
more slowly
more meaning
less quickly
I am running to catch the bus
my cunt makes it
of course
but me
I am tired
I am out of breath
lying on a map
and the city where I was born
disappears mysteriously
like anyway I know who did it
I will praise him in front of his family
who have never seen him chase after a bus
full of cunts
like I have
who will never know him
like I do
like I know
like I know
like I know

Jenny Zhang lives in Brooklyn and is the author of Dear Jenny, We Are All Find (Octopus Books, 2012). She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and has been published in The Iowa Review and DIAGRAM, among others.

Austin Power is a New York City based artist. You can see more of his work here.

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