This week in the PEN Poetry Series, guest editor Brian Blanchfield features five poems by Feliz Lucia Molina. About Molina’s work, Blanchfield writes: “I feel about Feliz Lucia Molina’s poetry the way I felt about Ariana Reines’s dimensionally game-changing Coeur de Lion back in 2007: here is a direct, uninhibited, even transgressive poetics—and an agile theorizing intellection—spun immediately out of the gossamer of the current cultural idiom, working way out on the web. There is an edginess I appreciate in the poet’s extramural observations from deep inside but ‘[this poem] doesn’t care what you think as it / splits between assimilation and ruin / Is here to hijack whatever language / it was born to remain foreign in.’ The confidence and unconcern of the speaker is superimposed on an anxiety about our hypermediated relationships—'(code of) my father projected onto my driver’s seat / …(code of) your Skype meeting projected onto a waterbed.’—in a way that excites what more is possible in poetry. I find I can’t close out of it.”

Gifs of a Rational Boy I Plan to be with Until One of us Disappears

Ben is about Ben. 
Ben can be read in any order.
Ben is his real name.
Ben was born in the 1980s.
Ben has lived in Springfield, Newport Beach, Hershey, Northampton, Philadelphia, Buffalo, San
         Diego, Los Angeles, and now Chicago.
Ben is the son of a bone surgeon.
Ben never tried to be a surgeon.
Ben realized he didn’t want anything to do with bones or the cutting and sewing back together
         of bones.
Ben would ride the bus to visit me in Buffalo.
Ben brought a laptop.
Ben is a fleshy essay.
Ben has a body and eventually conclusion.
Ben loves listening to strangers talk in public spaces.
Ben is a good listener. 
Ben writes prose and finds pleasure in constraints.
Ben is not represented by an agent.
Ben wrote a book called 78 Stories; a collection of short stories interlocked in a crossword
Ben loves anagrams.
Ben is good at tests.
Ben likes to draw hairy monsters with sentences hidden in them.
Ben likes to draw things derived from a sentence.
Ben likes to use the letters in a sentence and draw them into shapes. 
Ben will always love Oulipo.
Ben has brown eyes.
Ben is right-handed.
Ben was the captain of his high school basketball team.
Ben likes being a part of a team.
Ben has brown hair.
Ben hates driving cars.
Ben doesn’t like operating any kind of moving vehicle. 
Ben loves walking.
Ben likes mint chocolate chip ice-cream.
Ben has a fake front tooth.
Ben enjoys watching TV shows on Hulu.
Ben would rather not buy an upgrade.
Ben can watch any kind of TV show and appreciate it.
Ben is resourceful.
Ben would rather not waste things.
Ben has two pairs of the same sneakers.
Ben gets colds too often.
Ben has okay eyesight.
Ben likes hearts of palm.
Ben is good at counting.
Ben started reading Marx and Lenin when he was thirteen.
Ben won’t pay for a haircut.
Ben shaves his face once or twice a month.
Ben appreciates college basketball.
Ben is part of a fantasy football team.
Ben is good at predicting the outcome of things.
Ben appreciates puns.
Ben and my dad get along great
Ben and my mom get along great.
Ben and my rabbit and cat (when they were both alive) got along great.
Ben is disturbed by mystery.
Ben doesn’t need Buddhism.
Ben likes Kathy Acker.
Ben likes Avital Ronell.
Ben prefers a cheeseburger without the tomato and lettuce.
Ben has no brothers.
Ben has small feet.
Ben began telling stories at the age of two.
Ben would dictate stories to his mom and she’d write them down for him.
Ben doesn’t like cold water.
Ben likes saunas and hot springs.
Ben doesn’t prefer Skype.
Ben was not allowed to watch The Simpsons when he was growing up.
Ben loves soup, especially mushroom barley. 
Ben has a lot of sweaters.
Ben doesn’t have very many pants.
Ben has a few pairs of shoes.
Ben would rather not fall asleep alone without me.
Ben has one very long hair on his left eyebrow.
Ben never tells anyone what to do.
Ben is capable of giving good advice.
Ben likes to problem solve.
Ben never wanted to be a lawyer.
Ben always carries one two or three pens in his pant pockets.
Ben never complains about the way something tastes.
Ben will eat anything.
Ben won’t eat a person.
Ben has terrible handwriting.
Ben habitually plays a bubble game online.
Ben needs to beat an online game three times in a row before bedtime otherwise it’s bad luck.
Ben mostly reads on the toilet.
Ben likes tight closed spaces.
Ben agreed to be vacuum sealed in a plastic bag.
Ben traveled to Tokyo to be sealed in a plastic bag by some guy I found on the internet.
Ben doesn’t really garden.
Ben doesn’t really brag.
Ben loves sleeping.
Ben likes planning to build adobe domes in the high desert of Southern California.
Ben is frugal.
Ben loves junkyards.
Ben could be a good dad.
Ben hates scary movies.
Ben hates being manipulated.
Ben is skeptical of vegans he doesn’t know personally.
Ben is moved by Maurice Blanchot.
Ben can be superstitious about dumb shit.
Ben is annoyed by conspiracy theories.
Ben values clarity.
Ben appreciates all animals.
Ben supports the idea of living some kind of ethical life.
Ben can easily get lost trying to get somewhere.
Ben is good with maps.
Ben rarely likes something on Facebook unless he really likes it.
Ben has a good relationship with his family.
Ben is close to his mother.
Ben would rather walk than drive.
Ben would rather take a train than fly.
Ben would rather save time.
Ben never wears sunglasses.
Ben has a small appetite.
Ben would never harm himself.
Ben would never harm others.
Ben has never used a gun.
Ben appreciates shadows reflecting on a wall. 
Ben likes aesthetic accidents.
Ben was not allowed to play football as a child.
Ben likes to look at attractive people.
Ben likes rapping at parties.
Ben will rap for you if you give him something to drink and a tune.
Ben doesn’t think he’s a poet.
Ben thinks the beach is okay.
Ben doesn’t really like to be affectionate in public.
Ben always seems to find rings on the street.
Ben once found a Minnie Mouse ring while we were walking in Philadelphia.
Ben once found a silver ring while we were walking in Japan. 
Ben rarely loses his temper.
Ben often twirls twigs, straws, pen caps, or paper-clips while he is thinking.
Ben needs something to twirl between his fingers.
Ben forgets to close things like cabinets, drawers, doors of any kind.
Ben doesn’t see the point in making the bed every morning.
Ben can be generous.
Ben detests chic restaurants and stores.
Ben has never been to Mongolia.
Ben likes the idea of a landline.
Ben would like to learn how to make furniture.
Ben doesn’t enjoy cooking.
Ben thinks flowers are whatever.
Ben is a good dancer.
Ben is practicing how to whistle.
Ben doesn’t usually have bad breath.
Ben doesn’t need fancy shoes.
Ben once drove a U-Haul.
Ben is fascinated by parrots.
Ben has a good memory.
Ben doesn’t feel the need to own a cat.
Ben doesn’t feel the need to look at his horoscope.
Ben said astrology is an arbitrary narrative engine.
Ben would rather live with a lot of people.
Ben has a wide vocabulary.
Ben likes trivia.
Ben put together a very large bookshelf.
Ben can’t build a computer.
Ben would like to go to Kiribati before it goes underwater.
Ben is a slow writer.
Ben doesn’t enjoy canoeing.
Ben likes When Harry Met Sally.
Ben likes to repeat the pecan pie joke by Billy Crystal.
Ben was obsessed with dinosaurs from ages 2-5.
Ben likes to eat TV dinners while watching Antique Road Show.
Ben uses a very old cellphone.
Ben never combs his hair.
Ben twice tried to eat balut, a Filipino delicacy of an unborn duck fetus.
Ben can’t sit with his legs crossed because his hips and legs are tight.
Ben is an Aquarius sun (ankles, calves, circulation) with a Gemini moon and Gemini rising (arms,
Ben could be anybody.
Ben looks good in green, yellow, blue, not so much red.
Ben would rather not parallel park.
Ben would rather walk in a park.
Ben likes to work late into the night.
Ben no longer uses the Magic Bullet smoothie machine.

Go Fund Me

You shine through some pathological altruism 
online and pink and violently don’t blink

I want to give you something real
I want to make you a website for real

I bibliomancied true 
then true again then helicopters 

can only mean business hours 
where there’re no friends to stay

Anywhere, mostly architecture and weather 
mid century ice cube trays

I send you a world 
called Tropical Circle by Takako Minekawa & Dustin Wong

Between my forehead and back of my head
a dimly narrow teenage hallway 

Where my mother yells what is going on
through a hollow and round wafered christ

In front or behind many gardeners
from inside and outside you have seen

many gardeners 

Everywhere, everywhere 
addresses grasses shifting classes

You got narratives, got a lot of narratives
and like the way you wear all of them

Your narcissism isn’t enough
It needs more surface water light

to see how good 
you already are

Tropical Green Wet n’ Wild Lipstick

This poem migrates, was born to drag
and survives because of it
This poem has other thoughts 
about mimicry and its power
glistening like the sun reflecting from 
a broken tropical microphone 
cut and dragged onto a wheat field
of French Impressionist strokes 
gaze worthy and stupid
Doesn’t care for a transformation
of any kind, it’s fine the way it is
It doesn’t care what you think as it
splits between assimilation and ruin
Is here to hijack whatever language 
it was born to remain foreign in 
Renewed by the monster
of truth and lies like a fetus
growing on a brain
you would later learn was your twin
This poem isn’t a middle finger 
it merely wants to live

(code of) a wall projected onto a wall

(code of) my face projected onto my husband’s face

(code of) a full size bed projected onto a queen size bed

(code of) a black cat projected onto a white wall

(code of) a 404 Not Found projected onto a white cat

(code of) a flower painting projected onto a glass wall

(code of) my brother projected onto his daughter

(code of) my mother projected onto her mother’s grave wall

(code of) my father projected onto my driver’s seat

(code of) a sprinkle donut projected onto itself

(code of) a murder projected onto a police pig

(code of) a friendship projected onto a gold canvas

(code of) enemies projected onto a floor with a disco ball turning

(code) of your birth chart projected onto a palm tree

(code of) honor projected onto the last living lion

(code of) teacups projected onto a lawn of grass getting mowed

(code of) your fears and anxieties projected onto a pancake

(code of) your goals projected onto a piece of toast

(code of) water projected onto a cow

(code of) the first text message you ever sent projected onto a piece of Saran Wrap 

(code of) a stranger’s ringtone projected onto your dinner 

(code of) Doritos projected onto the Amazon rainforest

(code of) your Skype meeting projected onto a waterbed 

(code of) that garden you never grew projected onto an acre of astroturf

(code of) a golf course projected onto a California drought 

(code of) someone’s kindness projected onto an empty swimming pool

(code of) a swimming pool projected onto kitchen counter backsplash 

(code of) so many things Made in China projected onto so many Americans

(code of) Stéphane Mallarmé (google image) projected onto my knee

(code of) José Rizal (google image) projected onto a patch of grass in Spain

(code of) a stanza projected onto the inside of a cube of mirrors

(code of) a history of all your likes projected onto a marble surface

(code of) the last thing you’ll ever see on the internet before you die projected onto 
a bar of soap

There is (no code of) all the racism, sexism, classicism, you’ve lived through
      No code for that at all.

Jacuzzi Heart

was a title I wanted to give something
to make whatever thing more real and true
not really true, but at least real
which means the same thing anyways

It was something that came out of the radio
a word that came out of
a small clean hole
like through a macaroni 
while I was thinking about palm trees
and seeing them all the time
and how much I love them
only because they are real and true

And now I’m taking you to Sunset Blvd.
while a woman says jacuzzi
in relation to what we’ll never know
a party promotion for some
thing meaning
wet, Let’s all get wet
together in this heat, Let’s get
hotter in a jacuzzi in October

Let’s put all our sad hearts
in a jacuzzi
is really what this stupid 
invention was made for, rite?

Actually I just wanted
to put these words together
to see them on anything
an album a book a flag a country
a boat a haircut a building an arm a sky

My favorite is a boat
then maybe another boat and then a haircut

and did you know Jacuzzi’s
first name was Candido?
Sometimes I can’t believe the world.



Once a week, the PEN Poetry Series publishes work by emerging and established writers from coast to coast. Subscribe to the PEN Poetry Series mailing list and have poems delivered to your e-mail as soon as they are published (no spam, no news, just poems).