White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
ZiXiang Zhang
A first-generation immigrant of Chinese descent, ZiXiang Zhang is currently a 17-year-old amateur sailor living in New York City. His poetry has appeared in the Boston Literary Review, and will appear in the Hanging Loose magazine. In the fall of 2010, he will attend Stanford University, where he hopes to master the art of palm tree climbing and to recite Nietzsche under the California sun.

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ZiXiang Zhang



On the tulip leg,

a snail tastes spring on its fat antennae.

I taste it too;

in me is a ventriloquist with slow eyes.

And when the chestnut shell of the pink critter

is near death, so must I play his Queen, bear his progeny.


I do not know how to think—

that I might only be human, myself a theatre

held by halyards.

When the air pardons my laughter,

I maneuver waves,

the snail breathes in the collage of buds. He is blind,

the light I stole for puppets.

ZiXiang Zhang

In the Mojave


For most people there's a spot that lives forever,

Deep within their fondest memories.

- "When the Bloom is on the Sage"


In the Mojave, we cracked, like heartbeats & old walnuts,

bloodshot through the valleys of our blistered spirits,

& smoking sweat from a slew of half bitten carcasses,

with sand tethered to our golden hands, fallen into pairs,

Old Chisholm Trail statics & yodels along our silence. We hear home.


Along the trail, Joshua trees reached the violet remains of our hearts,

gripping each breath with rounded palms, a thorny beige of air,

& tasting monsoon tails in the sky, where his sun never breaks.

But we took to steal him & held between our thumbs his limb at dawn,

for our folks back at Goodsprings, all of them, people of God.


By the roadside vinyl & splintered pails, we imagined thirst.

Memories leave an aftertaste. We remembered the somber Sonoran

nights & wetness that chased away our hurried crested scalps,

in acid-washed dungarees, bare chests chasing asphalt

until night, when we gathered fire & shuffled beneath our snores.

ZiXiang Zhang

At night, across the Williamsburg Bridge


On a stretch of Williamsburg

there are no lights (if people would only close their left-over eyes

& sleepwalk on the narrow concrete

somehow, between the midnight at Meridian & a wet Monday afternoon).

Sirens like mating calls, cluttered.


Canines wander,

staring at the lightshow beneath their feet

contemplating suicide, (no,

because they do not really rip the Dasein from their landlords)

or merely eating corncobs

like the mouth of Epicurus, chewing on a fat torso of a chicken.


People wear dyes of alloy-orange

that mouth, "To hell with printed sleeves & bleached teeth autobiographies,

I am the stimulus." Bicycles

fast forward through neon faces, red from Yuengling & leather stillettos,

while fishermen fish for another Marlboro.

ZiXiang Zhang

The Barber


is an archaeologist with sharp scissors

& red sidebrushes


cuts &

(if rid of weather) trims morsels of time


birthdays assembled in a riddle on the floor

a chronology


the scalp

pale & raw beneath rounded bifocals


an artifact of boyhood & hot summers

for $12 plus tip

ZiXiang Zhang



In your delusions, voices spoke of your phobia:

many-legs & red ponytails, and of your head

being an artwork ruined in a bathtub of hands,

stenching rubber fumes & oil fire.


Now you overlook knuckles of brass canyons

with shoulders a few notches apart,

& where rivers spawn a delta, bodies

once met quicksand on mouthless ripples.


So your heart is an ash tree, is leather

& may trace rings of the moon on red tides,

in a submarine, when your mouth dives under

a quilted cross-bridge of fingers.


With legs that stutter, you were always the bird

caught in the arms of lightning squalls,

by patches in an aeroplane garden where

your engines shutter statics & shut electric eyes.


Copyright © ZiXiang Zhang. White Whale Review, issue 2.1

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