Connie Yu

3 Poems



in setting


for this trip, I

write: to record

in real time       which

in writing I felt i

had never done

this is because of a

deferral of feeling

and a replacement currency

of responsibility

this is the reason

for panic attacks

in a state of calm

i learn the terms

and then I lean in

there are sounds of

rain that seem particular

and vast with bibliography

but then the street opens out

where dad and dads upward

and outward had lived

soon to be parking lot

fenced with childlike paintings

the thing about fences is

have you ever seen a parking

lot in shanghai

nor i

there are discrete posters

on similar tiled fences

down Miyun Lu, down Chifeng Lu

and that’s just the neighborhood

with comics, softening the

decree of ‘neighborhood

revitalization’ this is

about xenophobia

and class, the leaning

on ‘licenselessness’ as reason

to excuse government hand

I am not the one to mourn

that change, or the violence that

is memorialized (its pastness, capacity

to control that passing

of time) in fence

through the VR viewer

at home, I find this

Google Street View

moment from someone

with a VPN and a camera affixed

to sweaty head

of that alleyway house

in the course of demolition

things that speak to the frame

rather than the clear content, which

is frozen, familiar, uncanny, all known

feelings, are:

the whorl of sky that closes in at the apex

of this street

the whorl of head below

mise-en-abyme of figurelessness

in this way

keeping record demands

a decapitation

the viewer falls from its head

the viewer is fallen from

the viewer remains on the ground

the ground remaining is such

I am a fan of crass explanations

if they take the form of a body

for instance

one that crashes, head elsewhere

into furniture that just

comes up

soft corner with immediate

surround, this contact

destabilizes a sense of

either ground, the experience

of temporal field

becomes narratable by


the experience of stuck

is confirmed by crash

5/28, for Adrienne


to follow up, some acts:

what we are learning is

love feels urgent in times of stagnation

this could look like Shen Xiling’s Crossroads, 1

937 I write, 6/20/2016,

            filmed in alleyway housing in Shanghai, or my general rib, about youth             

            unemployment, opening and closing moments in the city,

            by the water, the rail + street cars depositing familiar faces, the comic                          despair of love + worthlessness,

            of studying abroad, of living somewhere where the

            noises seep + you dress up

I’d add now, simply: passing sheets and clearing walls

every permeation a love letter

a move toward the deferral of meeting


I think of this later

after our last go-around

to fold the fabric deliberately

takes two

this third act, we meet.

this meeting is frontal

this song is slow, another

go at madam butterfly

another go at stocking the

set, to be cleared with better

sense of time


there is something you say

when we sit afoot the set,

audience to this final play,

the objects: folding screen, printed camo

hunter’s cap, skirted table, rocks

the scene: we are realizing how these

iterations, ‘practice,’ fall into narrative, fall

narratively, a theater of mutual gestures,

if so, this act is liberatory, speculative where

the others are historical, suspended space


we are padding our bodies till they

feel productively unfamiliar

how is this shape, you look like a painting

this is a goodbye to our bodies, this is

the thing you say

we begin this walk, try mirroring each other slow

I am beginning to know the thick of your foam

I am beginning to see better through the stretch

I am beginning to wear through the toes

I am beginning to forget the cathecting toward particular

object this is the narrative: that if the set-up were not filmed,

it is of course because we did not set anything up

the logic of the analog is about moving in love in

the imperialist structure that goes on

the takeaway, the housekeeping, that responsibility

ours, can be deliberate ritual

this might look like: zipping again into acute discomfort

these suits smell like: we wore them exhaustively


you might ask me how deep is my love

Teresa wallops the air with her sweet sound

I couldn’t translate

but I can dance slow

through the screen with no screening

lights glaring and at risk of going out


after we leave, I have to hook my arm


through the folding screen frame

to keep it from moving

                to keep you from going, cid speaks

                feeling myself here

                as long as you are

                as long as

et cetera. I bring the screen home, lean it

and later i’ll tend to this sunburn

made rash from shoulderfoam

we carry our backpacks, matching, away

some other time we can run it thru again

what about opening, closing moments in this city

may look like content. more than ever

we interest ourselves in the form — it iterates.

each time the possibility looms that another

fuse may blow, it’s possible that

this isn’t yet funny

to you



I eat the donut peach you put in my shirt

as surprise, palm it, there’s a half inch of my skin

on all sides. I incise from the top, peel the fuzz

down with my teeth, and go in. a day too ripe, your

flesh green-gray, structurally self-holding, still.

what I’m thinking of the whole time is the scene

from call me by your name, the one with

the juice still running down come arrival.

today I’ve also eaten a nectarine, still hard

while waiting for my bike’s front wheel

to be unstuck and amended with air.

the first time I came by, mohamed intercepted

me and flipped you over on 50th, pinching

the chain glibly and, all seemed well,

he insisted on filling both tires, which

now it’s clear, sped the leak, but thanks all

around, that’s useful, and he makes his way to

52nd street, because he doesn’t fuck around

with Choy Wong. I get that.

I rub my eyes, resetting, and they sour, spice

from the cabbage I’ve been kneading,

finding this project in the morning,

with your impetus. I travel down Washington

to do right by this, fabric in two piles (for loom,

for as is) behind me.

we compare daikon prices remotely,

I’m where I need to be. tonight,

I’ve gotta go to the barn, it’s been

more than a minute, and this means

that I’ll see lisa at the wonderful dragon,

now thrice a customer, for smokes and a fried

thing to hold me down. she told me, take two,

that she moved from Cambodia in ’79, which

we nod across the staggered plexi screen, was

a rough one; I read about the massacre on Veng Sreng

in 2013, the holdover of the Khmer Rouge on the day-

to-days of women workers, on my porch today. there

are ways of feeling closer to your neighbors that happen

privately. I write down about the philly tenant’s union,

to pass on to fran, who’s had a rough week and still

brings me a hefty forever 21 bag

of dishware, happy housewarming, this Monday. on

this self-same porch, I had the revelation, with you,

that the surprise of difference - no pet, no chore

is modifiable by our cultural proximity. no lapdogs

for our kind; dishes done out of a sense of propriety

learned without name or money attached, which

is also to say, for myself, the guilt I pick up

and am only, years later, learning to set down

on stage. the way I love you is like this:

when there is no pressure on this is all I want

the solidity of I want you feels absolute,

this, is nice, still and yet. if there is a structure of

feeling for ease of relation, and the wonder of it, it may

look like a clamshell box, plastic bone clasp, cheap indigo

linen lining. there were small books inside once, the top layer

fingered through and reordered in hap, the next few still

factory, touched by one or three hands up the line. one day

soon these books will be scanned, the fabric of container

sunstained, and in it will be installed objects of

consideration. when you move, I think all more fondly of


when you ask a question, I feel like a raised bed.

remember where I parked my car,

and I’ll call you by yours.