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Michael Chang


MICHAEL CHANG (they/them) is the author of many collections of poetry, including SYNTHETIC JUNGLE (Northwestern University Press, 2023) & EMPLOYEES MUST WASH HANDS (GreenTower Press, 2024). They edit poetry at Fence.


how is it that i’ve lived this long & nobody’s ever said: i should put a bell on u ???
countless bell-ends yet no bells 
is it my quiet bound feet 
[another wish: to be quietly bound] 
don’t tamp down my AZN JOY 
my heart rate slowed but the tox screen was inconclusive 
keep this talent liaison away from the celebrity wives—he is dangerous !!! 
why, why did u choose this one 
looking like roadkill 
grief brought us together—i gave the order to shoot her 
it’s unforgivable what she has done 
for dasani in the prisons & public schools 
he was run off campus after being hazed by chiang kai-shek’s great-niece 
it wasn’t a book review but a puff piece abt kitty litter 
i enjoy my new poems 
they feel like me but also not-me, in a good way 
[that’s something artists say to sound important] 
there u are, useless as a curling iron in the wrong voltage 
it’s just something that gets easier as u go, fish on a bicycle 
did u think that was too degenerate, dwarves at the spanish court ??? 
in the 18th century noblewomen wore monkeys 
on the shoulder to make themselves look more beautiful 
in contrast, six weeks ago i was on a rooftop w/ a champagne heir 
fighting off a deranged bulgarian weightlifter 
now my lover is a movie star, stubborn as a bunion, he’s casanova 
coming home w/ an armful of worthless prints, he just gave his last interview
under the pretext of getting comfortable, he edged his lips closer & closer to mine
i eyed the platter of breadsticks, individually-wrapped in prosciutto 
a miserable snack, very proletariat 
unbecoming of a man whose grandfather created babar the elephant 
my country hasn’t been around that long & ur already two-timing her 
poetry aims at difficult meanings but i don’t think ALL poetry is political 
[the ppl who say that just don’t have range] 
my poetry is aimed at destroying ugly shit 
i have it on good authority that white men w/ yellowed soles piss in the shower
a design flaw, perhaps 
he went to rehab to dodge charges but came out w/ a sex addiction & fondness for the sopranos
old dirty bastid propelled by romance, passion for the youth vote enviable 
i ran to face the streets alone, these jellied candies meant to be admired 
never eaten or fed piece-by-piece w/ antique tongs 
when he pulled me into bed 
of coz i was wrong abt that, too 
i mean falling asleep next to u 
white linen shirt so flattering 
not like my father’s 

nope, not at all

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