Heir Apparent

Issue #23: May 2014

from Aloha, State | Virginia Konchan

Elegy for Ho Chi Min

“Every woman adores a fascist.”

—Sylvia Plath

My first god was Stalinist

as steel, carving my body

from his bankrupt escrow,

limestone heads-of-state

sightless and covered

in mildew, decaying

in public parks. His

production values nill,

he barked commands

from a projection box:

rights of self-simulation,

representation, and speech

lost, concentricity of

rhythm destroyed. 

Money is not logos,

but logorrhea of intent.

If this is commonwealth,

let it be known it will not,

nor can its despotic,

dethroned king,

rescue you.


The glittering eyes of the hula girl

(living likeness of Queen Lydia

Liliuokalani, deposed in 1894

after the abrogation of the last

monarchical regime) catch mine

in the 20-foot breech birth

between spectator and stage.

Beyond theater: the snake

dance of embodiment, suffering

difference (futurity), beyond

endless recapitulations of

regressive trauma (time).

My feet rustle: my hands,

shot sparrows, twitch

with the life force prior

to articulation, or death.

I sip my Mai Tai, the

very picture of obsequy.

What is there to desire

but to be, if not loved,

then marked, and seen.

Sick Sonnet

Welcome to the Tang Dynasty. Today

we will not be departing today, walled

within a 24-hour convenience store

as a metaphor for jails both temporal

(the infinitely regressive present)

and gustatory (living off charbroiled

hot dogs and powdered donettes).

The cops flood the occupied state,

sirens blaring in cacophony with the

fire department (another false alarm),

EMS, Homeland Security, and the fed’s

twisted arms of intelligence (FBI, CIA),

locking the body of state in a frozen

embrace: forced mating of endangered

species (Psyche and Cupid) at the Louvre.

Portraits at the Stock Exchange

after Degas


Narcissistic fixation

substituting for love,

men gather in greatcoats,

exchanging papers and

mustached grins. Only

the lowly are gauged

by taxes, and asked to pay

for purchases (armed militia,

corporate expense accounts)

they are either ignorant of,

or deplore. Heads of state

look, from this perspective,

interchangeable, and voices

sound, with minor variations,

the same, thoracic chords

pumping toxins of flat-footed

pedantry into the mise-en-abyme

of occupied France, en plein air.

Aloha, State

Lost on the trail to paradise, or hell,

pluck freshly fallen star fruit from

towering trees, dropping manna

hourly on the deciduous forest floor.

Like the Chinese mafia gathering in

lounges during “free love” years,

Hawaii is shackled by debt, and

willed worship of a Protestant god.

After the military coup of 1898,

parceled into plantations, then

granted statehood, the electric

current of imperialism today carried

by ancient trade winds, primordial

rage of a whaling people wafting from

resinous rosewood oars above my bed.

The crested wave of eros has faded,

Hokusai’s “Kanagawa-Oki Nami-Ura”

depicting yet another failed attempt

(epic) to domesticate the sublime:

freeze-frame, narrowly escaped,

of cupidity’s unconscious thrall.