February 2010

Linh Dinh

features

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.

Let's Talk  
 
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.