Session Five Anthology
MENTOR: Chen Chen
I’ll Fix Every Semi-Mobile Home in Northern California for Free
A lava rock and a dial-up computer can’t speak to each other through the walls anymore. So goes the maintenance request.
The insulation, perhaps, needs looking over. Often that’s the case. Still, someone heard (from someone else who knew someone who knew her) that
my grandmother has gotten much larger, posthumously filling up your rooms in the fourth dimension. Only natural that some signal would get caught up in a body.
Do you mind if I poke around a bit? Give her name a good shouting?
Briefly, early last year, she must have sucked in a breath, maybe a big gasp, and I was able to receive a small message — came shouted from her only standing lamp: Remind me of the plastic book on the Phantom Menace. Refind the literary significance of a built-in lightsaber sound effect. Darth Maul always preferred fresh rice krispies.
Would you run outside just to say, “Jeopardy. Category is: Imaginary Real Estate.”? I’ll start working to make her gasp again, for they tell me future messages will be far too private for an intermediary.
Seven Ways of Looking at Seven
How can I be big and little at the same time?
You’re still little enough to not understand
how to make a baby, but you’re big enough to swish
your hips and mouth your lips to Can’t Stop the Feeling.
You’re little enough to put your shirt on backwards
but big enough to accuse your sisters of way too much skin.
You’ve got big sass in little words: duh, so what, puh-leez.
You see them everywhere: wagging tails, drippy smiles.
Right now, this Friday, nothing is more important
than the Encyclopedia of Dogs: your peeling
through its 300 sleek pages, lying tummy down
in your clothing-strewn bedroom, egg carton cups
the noses of Labradors, twisted pipe cleaners the muscled
tails of Westies. You’re convinced they can smell you, and they can, they can!
This is how you make a three dimensional diagram
of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. This is how you draw
a leaf’s drifting path. This is how you cut through cotton
balls to fill cumulus clouds. This is how you a sketch
a bird, wings a McDonald’s “M.” This is how you author
a poem in color: yellow is the mellow of the sun,,
the bitter taste of morning.
And she could run faster than the wind,
so bright and so clever. Each night she
would go to the field and practice in the dark
until she could run the course in just three minutes--
more quickly, she thought, than anyone had run
it before: not Max nor Armand, not Sachin,
Nick, Vic, Loic--no one can catch her to marry her!
When we move, we must take: Blankey first
and foremost, Lamby with her feely-ears, the jar
of acorn caps on the windowsill, the clippings
of the dog’s puppy hair, Harry Potter Volume IV,
page 482 (the Triwizard Tournament has begun),
and Mommy’s sweater which smells like her perfume.
But we’re not gonna move, right?
Above your dresser, she hangs, a SuperWoman,
carved in wood and painted in a sparkly tint. When
you sleep, she stretches you into eight.
She blesses you: Sweet baby, sweet sweet baby.
You special, supergirl. And just like that seven
steals quietly into the night, the sky heavy with dream.
To the moon and back I love you.
How do I know I am not just a little girl in a book
that another child is reading? And what is a verb?
Is your mouth really moving or is someone
behind you pulling strings? What even is a virgin?
Is Mexico in Spain? Oh yea, I bet that costs
a hundred dollars! Is this the plane to heaven?
And if this is the plane to heaven, are we all on it together?
Malia Chung is currently in her junior year at Milton Academy where she began took her first Creative Writing class in tenth grade. Since then, Malia has won several notable awards some of which include winning the Helen Creeley Award, winning the Smith College poetry prize (judged my poet Marie Howe), publishing three poems published in The Apprentice Writer magazine (winning Runner-Up for best poetry), and reading at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival at the Peabody Essex Museum. Malia believes that with art comes story of creation and of meaning. When she writes, she claims she experiences a double consciousness, which allows her to re-see a moment, to manipulate it into a story or a poem. Writing, she believes, gifts her the opportunity to reflect on her own lived experience, seeing in it what she, at first, couldn’t see; therefore, writing requires that she pay more attention to the world around her, forcing her to live more presently.
letter for jylen
Letter I Should Have Written before August 4, 2017
a.k.a artsy chicken,
a.k.a. super cool human bean,
I don’t know what to say
to peel away the past year.
Sometimes I forget
solitude and loneliness
are terribly different things.
how to speak.
But I don’t want to write
about social anxiety. Or talk about it.
Or wake up with it or eat Cheerios with it
or walk on stage with it or die with it.
I don’t we don’t want it.
But that’s what we relied on
when we first met, when you asked
if I wanted to see your OCs.
You asked me to guess one of their
Wow, you said. You’re spot-on.
That’s exactly who she is.
I said I was guessing.
Her eyebrows sloped downward.
She looked uncertain, uneasy,
hesitantly hopeful. Of course
it’s the eyebrows, you said.
The most expressive parts of the face
are the eyebrows and the mouth.
The only words you left
were Remember me pls
+ a chicken doodle
+ self-portrait as a bean
with spectacles, a top hat,
a classy moustache.
You and your art
of disappearing: slipping away
into the studio alone, eating a tuna sandwich
while watching The Addams Family
alone, walking to Michaels alone
and returning with a sketchbook:
the pages you invited everyone
to speak to you through. To draw and write
I get really nervous
when I talk to people, but you’re all amazing,
talented human beings and I want
to get to know all of you,
you explained on the back of the first page.
Next to my daylily drawing and long introduction,
you appeared: a chicken doodle and a note
in almost-cursive saying you loved the flower,
saying If you are who I think you are,
I think we were both at the figure drawing session,
though we left without talking to each other.
You left me:
a wire flower (plucked from your fistful
of steel stems,
each petal bent precisely into place)
two faces (first flash - surprised
second flash - a smile
from a morning I’m beginning to forget)
a print (Maybe, No Funny Bones—
linoleum carved into a black ink scene
because even in mourning,
Death must grin)
Love in the Time of Intelligence-Augmentation
“MIT’s wearable device can ‘hear’ the words you say in your head.
Subvocalization signals are detected by electrodes and turned into words using AI.”
—Engadget magazine, April 4, 2018
FUCK cried the fiction writers
THAT’S LIKE OUR MAIN THING!
The character thinks the thing
but then JESUS CHRIST they don’t
actually say it and it definitely
doesn’t get said for them
by a two-bit Bluetooth Voyeur™
and that’s the point.
In the relational
space of narrative, we read interior
against exterior to sound what is
felt-actual-true, and apprehend
all the ways we remember and forget
the common history of our species.
That’s the alchemy of fiction. In reality
we do not hear the inmost thrum
of breath-heart-mind, and we’re
broken from each other, just like this.
So we make a machine to eavesdrop
when we should teach ourselves
by hand, ear, or eye to listen,
though rise of breath betrays,
though every heart is opaline,
a geode we cleave, only to hear
the half of it
Julie Philips Brown