Beijing Plasticizer, a Flower Bomb

by 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.

An ad for the luxury perfume, Flowerbomb,


from Beijing Plasticizer

Plasticizer 1 (flower bomb)


abdominizer, plasticizer,

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!)


Beijing Plasticizer First Half

Beijing Plasticizer Second Half


(These poems first ran as a chapbook called ‘Beijing Plasticizer’ in the Black Warrior Review)

1 comment for this entry:
  1. Kristen

    “…where dad wants it: safe in the vein” = a mean left hook. I love the workings of patriarchy in in the last line, the dad of the chemical plant, the dad of China, the dad of the plasticizer.