Recombinant by Ching-In Chen

$16.95 Kelsey Street Press

This ambitious, formally inventive, and unsettling collection dares diagram ghosts. Chen uses the spacious 8 x 10 page to take the eye for a journey that mirrors—in all its palpable silences, silencings, and cells—the histories of racialized violence and human commodification at the book’s thematic core. Eerie in its accumulations, the language feels extracted, archival, arranged, and full of menace—a kaleidoscope of modes. Tables draw cages around word fragments; ledgers list names and body parts; and words shrink or enlarge, as if retreating or charging forth from the page.

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“oral history revisited: interview with assistant”
………after Michael Lin

Each house curves a may-open story if you follow his way. Do not open touch-up doors. Some days each empty family get magnify, get reproduce. Under blue pattern, specific parameter. Only within my limits, our glazed family under spotlights. Place myself in pattern of protection. Brother bright and bent over each small man, kiss belly and grip, each whiskey put off to sea. Dream door came

open in my hand, dream you open my hand, back rose in air, no limit to our small men empty, your back free of payments, your brother in doorway, grows teeth at dawn.

Posted by Gabrielle Bates