Notes on performance.
It is a work of progress, a work perpetually in the making. Being
as an act of labor. Being: a kind of magic. Every two years, I
invented a prose modeled after a lover.
Being: an embarrassment.
Being: breathing in through the nose. Knowing how loud you
For I cannot intimate a stanza without blushing. Because
chapters intimidate me. I dislike word counts. I write
This thought began in purgatory. I sought contentment in
I start and do not know where to go. Everything stops. Abruptly.
I write to lose meaning. Until these words stand in for
themselves without context or politics. That’s a lie. That would
be a meaningless experiment. I write to be reminded of the
body who pushes these keys, sharpens pencil after pencil. The
body who sits on a train and amuses herself with a story about
Could I gender my body otherwise? Even as I move into time,
my body remains vibrant in its disintegration. I engender affect,
which I measure by the gum wrappers I see littered in the city. I
cross the Charles Bridge to a new body. But I feel nauseous. My
body has not actually changed. Meaning: I am my body. I am not
Catherine Chen is a poet and performer. Their work has appeared in Slate, Entropy, Asian American Writers’ Workshop, Nat. Brut, among others. Their chapbook “Manifesto, or: Hysteria” will be published in June 2019 by Big Lucks.