june 26, 2017
We are thinking about healthcare/wealthcare and Pride and Philando Castile and Nabra Hassanen and how it’s been one year since the shooting at Pulse.
We are thinking about how Trump and his supporters would have us believe that violence, “real” violence, always happens elsewhere, committed by some “other” malicious force threatening “our” way of life.
But we know: violence is stealing from the poor to make the rich richer; violence is taking away healthcare from millions; violence is poisoning the water; violence is denying climate change; violence is cishet white folks centering themselves over and over (as if every form of media wasn’t enough); violence is everyday homophobia and racism and Islamophobia and misogyny; violence is turning away refugees; violence is police brutality and the failure to hold law enforcement accountable for murder; violence is saying no one should grieve, thoselives are not worth grieving; violence is the suppression of the people’s emotion in favor of the state’s; violence is the state’s emotions of patriotism, allegiance, fear of difference, fear of marginalized people labeled as “terrorists” and not of the capitalist white supremacist state’s ongoing, daily violence.
Against these violences, we march, we write, we protest, we read, we boycott, we share knowledge, we interrupt, we undo knowledge, we educate, we listen, we listen to the people we link arms with, we listen and try again, we work on our friendship and say what we need, we talk about the importance of queer friendship, we stay up talking on the phone about our lives, we live, we grieve, we say out loud what violence truly is, we study how to do better, make otherwise.
And yes, we’ve made a poetry journal. A small action with a silly name. No, not silly. Joyful. Queer. Brash. Uncouth. Sparkly. Dancing. Naughty. Outraged and outrageous. An untranslatable scrap of feisty sound. A one-word spell. A magic mouthful. Underblong.
We welcome you to our inaugural issue. The first issue! That’s what inaugural means! But we’re saying it again because omg! We are so thrilled to share these brilliant, tender-hearted voices with you. Here you will find poets whose work embodies and enacts every aspect and degree of Underblong. These poets remind us why we need poetry, why we want language inhabiting our chests, burrowing deep in our bellies, living everywhere in the body and always redefining the breath, the ordinary and beautiful and blongy breath. Language belongs, always, to the people, these poets say. These poets stomp and sing, wreck and question, fever and blongunder. These poets somehow know all the meanings of our made-up wacky word, even reversed! Seriously, though: read these poets, spend lots of quality time with the words and visions of these poets, underblong and re-underblong through the underblonging we’ve gathered for you.
Chen & Sam
Janice Sapigao – “Apostrophize” and “Contrastify”
Nghiem Tran – “Conversation with Cat”
Kazumi Chin – "道 (MICHI)" and "Final Distance" and "光 (HIKARI)”
Luther Hughes – “From the Lynched” and “Riding with Death”
Maya Jewell Zeller – “little spell for kestrel hovering / for x-ray & mothering”
Floyd Cheung – “Chocolate Caramels”
Cassandra da Alba – “A Barbie Dream House But All the Dolls are Kitchen Knives”
Paul Tran – “America is a Dream I Must Wake Up From”
Patrick Kindig – “presto”
Shevaun Brannigan – “Self-Portrait as Steam Engine Locomotive"
Jacqui Germain – “All Ash, An Anointing”
Emily Paige Wilson – “New Year’s Eve on Market Street”
Rosebud Ben-Oni – “Even Doves Have Pride”
E. Kristin Anderson – “Pillow, Screwdriver”
Yasmin Belkhyr – “A Lesson in Dream Logic”
Steffan Triplett – “glitterwaves”
Tyler Tsay - “notes on origin story”
Anna Meister - “from As If”
Travis Tate - “is this sad?”
Michelle Lin - “Punctum Caecum” and “In Any Other Context I’d Love To”
with Muriel Leung (by Chen Chen)
Anya Liao is a printmaker, painter, drawer, clothes maker, and tropical fruit whose work can be found at www.yovngcoconut.com.