To sing, first I learned to breathe.
I saw I could ask my lungs for air,
wailed like a banshee.
Gave me a band name, put pure diva
inside me, was rocking
all the gossip columns.
They were saying I needed to be carried,
I was speaking like a baby.
I wanted to be a diva, I did,
but couldn’t get my cat ears
in time for the transformation,
so the witches hitched their kites
to their brooms and left me. Left
their spells still clogging my heart.
And then it stopped
completely. And collapsed.
Then I was born.
And the best part
of this song is the resolution. I mean,
revolution. I mean, better to become
inarticulate, the tongue a revolver.
I was two when I decided
never to stop singing.
Christmas tapes all year round.
Knew the words, but couldn’t make them
with my lips. If you ask me about it,
I’ll tell you I gave up
on language. I never cared
about Santa, or his sleigh. Was never
about words, but the resurrection
of my body.
The voice of my soul
hits whistle tones higher than Minnie’s.
But a man stole my voice,
the same day he stole Mariah’s,
dropped some baritone in my drink
and slipped away.
Still, in my head, I sound like a dolphin.
I am so very
The Obsession Is Real
Is a comment I read on YouTube
posted by a girl who can’t stop hyperventilating
when Ariana releases a new video
on her channel.
Breathe, I want to say,
I feel you. And how absurd to say this,
because I don’t, we’re all alone in our feelings,
I’m on this side of the river, and she’s
on the other. I am a tornado
unto myself, each tree
my own, though they might
poke at my eyes the way trees poke
But in this tornado, on this side
of the river, Ariana’s voice pierces me
like a tree, except that tree is made
of candy, and I just want to taste it,
wherever that wound finds my skin.
Want needles laced with Ariana jammed
all over my body, and I wonder if others
are so crazy. I listened to Ariana
for seven hours on repeat, from SF to LA,
seven hours back.
The obsession is real.
Yes, I am an Arianator.
Someone writes that note could cure cancer,
and I know what she means. Because every note
gives me cancer,
every note cures me of it, I am all excess,
This poem has none of the depth
of any of the others I’ve been writing,
but I don’t care. Sometimes love has no depth.
Sometimes love wears short skirts
and cat ears.
Sometimes I want to be destroyed
and resurrected, a single, pure, shining note
that stretches from the lungs of a twenty-one-
winds its way around the world,
one corner of the Internet to the next.
I would find the people who need me,
give them my chemotherapy.
I would stop
the sick from dying, I would bring
the dead back to life in the way that I
am brought back to life in Ariana’s song.
Somehow I am not alone here,
somehow she is climbing from my mouth,
over and over,
swirling through my tornado,
and I’m flickering between
so many channels of loving.
KAZUMI CHIN is a poet from El Cerrito, California. He earned his MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh and his BA in creative writing from the University of California, Riverside. He has work published or forthcoming in the Ilanot Review, Miramar, Twelfth House, the Casserole Online Reading Series, and the Lo Writer poetry series.