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Victoria Chang

Dear P.

There    will be    a circle    of girls there will be    

many circles of        girls    who turn into circles of    

women     there will be many parties many grills with    

corn and    meat losing its red center     there will

also be     a circle of crows who circle the     circle of

boars    who circle        the circle of grass     work

their way    into its center there will be a     circle

of gnats    who circle the dirty        boars because

there    are     awards for    grouping    easier than    

absence easier than working against     easier than

separating     water with curtains    good things are    

often in pieces are backing             away     from    

doorways are alone     the heart     is     alone in

our bodies    because         it must be     to    love



Dear P.

Let her     let them collect others     let them hurl depth

over the balcony in the    meantime    it’s not about

purpose but about the    person    buy stackables and

store     your selves in them     let    everyone in though

don’t pull the curtains closed or snap the buttons shut

the girls might try to     come in     might try to throw

you out    woe you     the boys might    lure you     out

please don’t     kowtow     to them         the wars aren’t    

real there are     three ways    to    still            everyone

with love     don’t eat the    meat of your        enemies

because it tastes just like     your tongue     don’t meet

them in the        middle just         jump in the     puddle

together     and fill in the     white    space    the wind is

fine    with being homeless but we are not     the wind



Dear P.

One night the power     in your house     will

disappear     apparitions     will appear        your

appetite will         disappear you will be left    with

only        dark and grey ghosts who        know you

more than     anyone    do not     light a candle or find

a     flashlight do not try    and     shape the pain     do

not find any lights that     cut darkness    into pieces    

let night pile up there is peace     in darkness there are

no     loud speakers in    darkness all tears are equal in

darkness underneath     the coat    of     blinding night

is truth     and the difference    between truth     and        

everything else is that     you can see     everything else    

don’t worry    everything you     reluctantly     give me

you will     eventually get back        


Victoria Chang's fourth book of poems, is Barbie Chang, from Copper Canyon Press. Her prior book, The Boss (McSweeney’s Poetry Series, 2013), won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. Chang lives in Southern California and teaches at Chapman University and Orange County School of the Arts. You can find her at

Victoria Chang

Barbie Chang Can’t Stop Watching

Barbie Chang can’t stop watching
          the Ellen Pao trial

while the rest of the world wonders
          about a plane crash in

the Alps helping Ellen Pao is not an
          option Barbie Chang

opted out but never really severed
          ties with the people in

the office she kept quiet because by
          speaking she would

become a victim something projected
          upon like the canvas

that paint is thrown on she quietly
          packed her bag and

pulled it through the narrow door some
          say what a whore Ellen

Pao was to fall in love with a man in the
          office doesn’t she know

that men like to take off their clothes
          extend their tongues

to see whose body it will run on some
          thought Ellen Pao was a

cyst in the office made lists in the office
          of all the wrong things

someone made a poll about her did she
          or didn’t she was she or

wasn’t she always the same binary argument
          racism or incompetence is

there a third possibility that when we
          have seen something so

many times we no longer recognize it
          as injustice our heads

are always only one foot away from
          the man’s head in

the other hotel room but we don’t notice
          because we can’t see him

around an empty office building dead
          birds lie in the grass

new ones each day hit the glass each
          face the same

expression forever frozen in its own
          form like a stamp



Barbie Chang’s Mother Calls

Barbie Chang’s mother calls her to
          tell her about the

oxygen machine that outfoxes her
          father he can’t figure

out how to turn it on there’s a whole
          generation of people

who care about deer porn not form her
          dog only cares about the

deer horn she gave him yesterday Barbie
          Chang’s father who bothers

with everyone’s business doesn’t know
          what Bisquick is someone

wrote a book of poems about Kanye
          West there are still

old poets looking for the best new young
          poets who are all hornets

around the same old nest Barbie Chang
          knows she lives an

America that most people don’t care
          about on most days

she can’t distinguish between being a
          token and racism she

either feels like a token or is experiencing
          racism a token needs to be

acted upon by a subject but the same is
          true of racism does that

mean her whole life is an object as a
          shadow of someone

else on some days she has feeling in
          her lungs tries her

mother’s oxygen machine the O2 owes
          her nothing it goes

through her body breathing for a
          shadow is just a hobby



Mr. Darcy Grabs

Mr. Darcy grabs Barbie Chang’s hand
          one that has a loop

and can be tugged like a leash she wishes
          his hand were a special

hand a hand she has been trying to
          touch for years but

his hand has no breadth or texture
          fingers too big to text

just a hand that only knows one
          woman’s upholstery

its fabric and stuffing if Barbie Chang
          unscrews his hand

and replaces it with an ugly man’s
          hand would she still

want to grab it her gasp comes out as
          an X-Ray of some other

woman some imposter some possible
          maybe her separation

from other women only makes her
          see her connection to

them maybe she desires Mr. Darcy
          because he has never

been captured on film because he
          has no footsteps

maybe he was right wing all along but
          if she knew that would

she give the ring back the phone rings
          every day with men

trying to sell her solar panels don’t
          they know not

everything that burns should be
          captured and sold



Barbie Chang’s Daughter

Barbie Chang’s daughter befriends
          the new girl at school

but before they can form a bond the
          new girl’s mom tells

Barbie Chang that her own daughter
          should not tie herself

down and drown too fast and in one
          week the new girl walks

past Barbie Chang’s daughter no longer
          talks to her kind the mom

works hard to send cards to the Circle
          one by one she stars

their names because they are free to
          star names free to have

stars next to their names Barbie Chang
          no longer can play dead

because she remembers the moment
          she realized that lying

on the cement and looking at the sky
          while following a body in

and out of buildings was not ideal the
          moment she realized that

she is not what others see that she is
          not what others name her

would we name a deer something else
          if it could see the ocean

would the deer even name itself a deer
          Barbie Chang asks her

daughter why she no longer plays with
          the new girl she says

only in her mind Barbie Chang can’t
          help but mind

can’t help but dislike the Circle’s children
          with their Circle friends

how does she stop the end from
          beginning again


Victoria Chang’s fourth book of poems, Barbie Chang, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press. Her prior book, The Boss (McSweeney’s Poetry Series, 2013), won the PEN Center USA Literary Award and a California Book Award. Other books are Salvinia Molesta and Circle. Chang lives in Southern California and teaches at Chapman University and Orange County School of the Arts. You can find her at

volume 10 number 3

Preface to Diode’s Tenth Anniversary Issue

Welcome to Diode 10.1!

Law, Jeff and I want to thank you, humbly and sincerely, for a wonderful decade, and to invite you to celebrations and events that will be happening off the page.

Come visit us at AWP. We'll be at tables 219T & 220T. We'll have tons of swag, and we'll be launching five new titles from Diode Editions.

Join us for our 10th Anniversary Reading & Reception:

2017 I St NW,
February 9th
Free Food (prepared by Chef Ken Kievit of the Arts Club)
Cash Bar

Kaveh Akbar
Remica Bingham-Risher
Catherine Pierce
Heather Lang
Peter Murphy
Michelle Bitting
Vandana Khanna
Anders Carlson-Wee
Tina Schumann
Paula Cisewski
Paisley Rekdal
Kai Carlson-Wee
Seema Yasmin
Shelley Wong

And for our joint reading with BOAAT PRESS, Octopus Books, and Gramma Poetry!
With live music from Jackson Pines
Friday, February 10 at 7 PM–11 PM EST
3222 11th St. NW

Meg Freitag
Stephanie Schlaifer
Jeremy Allan Hawkins
Amy Lawless
James Gendron
Noor Hindi
JP Grasser
George Abraham
Christine Shan Shan Hou
Stacey Tran
Sarah Galvin

And finally, please come by for our AWP on-site reading:

Title: Diode Poetry Journal's 10th Anniversary Reading
Number: R208
Date/Time: 1:30pm–2:45pm on Thursday February 9, 2017
Location: Supreme Court, Marriott Marquis, Meeting Level Four

Victoria Chang
T.R. Hummer
Andrea Cohen
sam sax

volume 10 number 1 — Tenth Anniversary Issue

special features