by Joyelle McSweeney on Aug.22, 2012
Hello folks, sorry to have been absent, I’ve had a computer crash etc, but now I am back on top and would like to share with you some sound files of a series of poems called Beijing Plasticizer.
from Beijing Plasticizer
Plasticizer 1 (flower bomb)
the flawed flask flushes the brain,
the flash drive inserted
into the correct drain
provides fusion, fluency, the plasticizer
voids the gut, no current can run
anymore thru that florid
fosse, where instinct sinks skindeep,
loses a shoe.
A system should be
made of plastic: too
much beauty crashes the system
with its black drive
a clouding agent sprouts mushrooms
the river flows
where dad wants it: safe in the vein.
I wrote these poems while in China last summer (an exchange for women writers sponsored by the International Writing Program! Thank you, Chris Merrill and Hugh Ferrer!) Before I went, I read about a scandal in which a toxic industrial chemical called ‘plasticizer’ was being added to sport drinks in Taiwan to make them cloudy (and thus attractive for drinking!!?). When I visited China, I saw English on shopfronts, on people’s bodies (as t-shirts) and in ads, and particularly ads for either luxury apartments or for cosmetics and particularly skin whiteners for women. As a woman and an English speaker, I felt continually addressed by these cosmetics, as if a kind of virus had entered the interface of China, and wanted to consume it– wanted me to consume my/and/or China’s face. The plasticizer was besetting me through every pore, especially my eyes, my face. Like Art.
I want to add that this poem is not a critique of China and its economic policies or pollution etc, though of course these are certainly deserving of critique. This is how I feel everywhere on the planet and also when I’m asleep. It was just a more concentrated sensation in China, which is what made my visit there so intoxicating, what makes China so exciting. High on plasticizer!!
Here’s the set of poems that resulted, in two sound files. (Note, I made these files for Sabrina Salomon, who is beginning to translate my work into Spanish!)
CLICK BELOW TO HEAR FIRST AND SECOND PART OF SERIES!!
(These poems first ran as a chapbook called ‘Beijing Plasticizer’ in the Black Warrior Review)