A Portfolio: The Poetry of Linh Dinh
These three poems are some of the latest from Linh Dinh’s newest book, Some Kind of Cheese Orgy. Linh Dinh’s work has been described as both “surreal” and “straightforth.” As with his photography published on his State of the Union blog, Dinh’s poems abound with raw humor and unapologetic grit. They reveal the grotesque without overstaying their welcome in the scatological.
Chax Press, founded by Charles Alexander and now located in Tucson, Arizona, is dedicated to preserving the poetry tradition by presenting new works in thoughtfully designed, stunning editions. The traditions of Black Mountain Poetry and Language Poetry are particularly apparent in the more than 50 works now available from the press’s website and Small Press Distribution.
The shit knowledge gets stuck
In between the eloquent teeth,
Anchors those haloed thoughts.
My chain of minty abstractions trip
Over the titty bumps, gets hoovered
Into the scalloped ever pink. Your
Jazzy jibes sidestep that rude rod.
Each utters in euphemisms, the hate
And fuck fuck creases ironed away,
All inchoate truths diluted into light.
I Owe You These Lines
Welcome, friend, I give you
My very best friend, to eat.
I did not kill my best friend, friend,
Although I did rejoice at his death,
As I would rejoice at your death,
As you would, no doubt, fall over
Laughing at news of my demise.
With the sharpest or dullest knife,
Whatever’s handy, I’ll point the tip
Of my blade at your jugular vein,
Observe your jiggling jaw, ask
About your questionable taste
In wine, painting and poetry.
Fall is my favorite season, I somberly reflect,
As your blood pools in the sharp morning air,
As I incise a clean cross on your funny belly,
As I gut you, glancing over my thin shoulders.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Belonging to the lower class, you’re expected
To cater to the upper class’ lower bodily functions,
Not to engage their minds but to wipe their asses,
Kiss their cunts on demand, suck cocks for tips,
Unless, of course, you’re an artist, in which case,
You’re an aristocrat of the servant class, to quote
That grand maestro among slaves, Jasper Johns.
I used to clean apartments and houses.
Showing up for a new job, I was greeted
By the mistress, "I have the most respect
For new immigrants. You work so hard!”
Down low, you’ll get a disproportionate
Low down on all things funky and nasty,
Nothing unusual, really, just shit and stuff.
I cleaned toilets and fridges, folded panties,
Got on all fours, dipped into the suspicious.
A young woman confided, "I moved to Philly
Because California women were so beautiful."
She was usually home when I came. The spine
Of her soft porn book turned to the wall. They all
Had some smut in the house. This was before
The internet made these sad and surreptitious
Purchases unnecessary. I found a teen-aged
Madonna in a closet, so I knelt and sighed.
A fat one lived alone, but once she said, "Sorry,
The house is so messy today. I had company
Last night," and her face brightened angelically.