& O Bright Star of Disaster, I Have Been Lit

Franny Choi

i have come & come here a thousand times,gone by many names. trust: i am no god,only woodworm, only termite burrowinglike a light in the flesh. i am no insect,only an ache on loop in the window.be honest. the wounds have been bearablethus far. & who isn't bruised around the edges,peaches poured into the truck bed, receiptsfaded to white? i have only ever wanted to bitedown hard on whatever was offeredto my hothouse mouth. & here i am, licking cornerslike a nervous cat, squirming in the hallwayoutside the bathroom. i pick up the accentof whoever i'm speaking to. nobody wantsto fuck a sponge. nobody wants to crushon a ghost. o sure, we all do it anyway:flickering screen; falsies batting; a storyof a story of a girl, or a country, or a clean housewhere everyone knows her place. my faceis a game of telephone gone sour, or south.fleshy marionette in the window, dancingher awful, crooked dance. & isn't thatwhat you paid for? isn't that what you cameto see?                          a god, on loop, failing?

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Franny Choi is a writer, performer, and educator. She is the author of Floating, Brilliant, Gone (Write Bloody, 2014) and the chapbook Death by Sex Machine (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2017). She has been a finalist for multiple national poetry slams, and her poems have appeared in Poetry MagazineAmerican Poetry Review, the New England Review, and elsewhere. She is a Kundiman Fellow, Senior News Editor for Hyphen, co-host of the podcast VS, and member of the Dark Noise Collective.

“Franny Choi’s Soft Science offers an exceptional exploration both of all that comprises the intimate and of all that consumes the communal in our lives. Whether tracking the adventures of the ‘cyborg’ or eavesdropping on conversations between sisters, it’s all the same world. These striking poems ring through with a singular voice, creating a society that helps us understand our own. When you open a book of poems, ‘isn’t that what you came to see?’ Choi builds a world not only of striking beauty and lucid politics, but also, most importantly, with love.”
— A. Van Jordan

“In Soft Science, the reigning consciousness is split, human teetering into machine, machine forced to demonstrate its humanness via acts of ritual testing, a passion play in which alienation seeks authenticity and dissociation pursues kin. Franny Choi’s generous inventiveness transmutes the book’s violent lore into a ferocious tenderness. In its conceptual heft, formal virtuosity, queer imagination, multi-dexterous approach to language, and tonal intricacy, Soft Science is a crucial book for our time—perhaps the book for our time.”
— Diane Seuss

“Wearing a crown of sonnets like a dime store tiara, Franny Choi’s cyborg cephalopod is a creature of unending amazements, unfurling tendril after tendril – some surgical, some sensual, some weaponized, some rubberized—brandishing hypodermics, vibrators, cigarettes, smartphones, or simply snapping in time to the beat. With uncanny tonal and technical dexterity, she can play upon your emotions, tickle your sweet spot, then press all of your buttons at once. At once raw and radiant, these brilliant poems are at their most human when they assert their alienness, at their most ferocious when they dare to be vulnerable.”
— Monica Youn

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