About this poet

Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017) and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013). She teaches poetry at The New School and lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Interim Poetics

I walked there guilty by tongue but not by mind
The water was breaking on a soft green rock
The rock was breaking underfoot despite a lack of intention
My works contained no genius, only an agitated bouquet of ideas
White ones, sand ones, some almost blue
An image I returned to: deep green tendrils, coarse salt
By day I moved easily enough through the offices of disappointing money
Uninterrupted, nobody stopped to ask for any music
I knew my family’s faces by pinkness and language comprehension
Something like a fond electricity was happening inside of me
I felt I could lie there forever on the tarmac by the sea
A three-legged chair, a clock, a door opening in the surf
My eye passed over without judgment or apprehension
A feeling entered quietly through the four walls of my murky inheritance
Just lost in the technicolor thought of it
A brush stroking to the left, a government whistling as it hurts
I receive its washed-up objects and contain not a single word

Copyright © 2018 Wendy Xu. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Winter 2018. Used with permission of the authors.

Copyright © 2018 Wendy Xu. This poem originally appeared in Tin House, Winter 2018. Used with permission of the authors.

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu

Wendy Xu is the author of Phrasis (Fence Books, 2017) and You Are Not Dead (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2013).

by this poet

poem
The diagnosis was god, twice a day until the spirit
untangles itself. I took a trip into unscripted
days past, teenagers submit to the window an open
facing yawn. A walnut fell into the grave
of my loved one and stayed there beating patient
like a word. I was still unmoved by disbelief watching
my father mumble
2
poem

I commune with the text by way of railing against the text

The molecular processes of you are never finished

I move through air in the early fall, a cooling spittle, high heat
      days are gone

When the troops leave the replica city, you see that its
      battlements are written in

2
poem

It’s the inside which comes out, as I contemplate
him there half in sunlight, weeding diligently
a Midwestern lawn. On my persons, I have only notes
and a drying pen, the memory of onion blossoms
scenting in a window. Reflection is my native medium.
I am never arriving, only speaking

2