One Poem by Catherine Chen

Our poetry editor, Wendy Xu, has selected one poem by Catherine Chen for her monthly series that brings original poetry to the screens of Hyperallergic readers.

David Horvitz, “Proposals for clocks” (2016-ongoing) (image courtesy the artist and ChertLüdde, Berlin), currently on view in Loitering is delightful at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery


[Why work.]


Why work.

Why shop.


disrupt rest



the dishes.


Leaving isn’t

the question. They

go. You’ll

stay to

answer. To you

we say yes.

To you

we say Ma’am.


No pay is

beneath them.

Our possessions

of springtime


nectar &

terry towels &


yr earthly



is ours.


Our tenure is obsequious.

We know that.

Our faith is unencumbered.

We know that.

Our prose is tired.

We know that.



Catherine Chen is the author of the chapbook Manifesto, or: Hysteria (Big Lucks). Their writing has appeared in Slate, The Rumpus, Apogee, Anomaly, and Nat. Brut, among others. A recipient of fellowships from Poets House, Lambda Literary, and Sundress Academy for the Arts, they’re currently working on a libretto.

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