Nebulizer Baby, Noisy Legendary
A birthday card as a placemat for spit coated fishbones
Celebration of life and death and near-death
I looked at the ghost in the eye with a taunt
If you are going to take me, take me now —
For the first time in my life and the last time in his, I asked my grandpa just one (1) question.
He then asked my mom,
“Since when did my granddaughter have so much to say?”
He never watched that American movie where rats can speak and even cook for the rich.
Alone in this house with four bedrooms and fourteen chairs and forty dirty dishes that I leave in the sink
To replicate the post dinner party glow,
For the first time in my life, I let myself cough as loud as I can.
Rhythmic explosions of a hammer
Spitting out a gold chain,
Echoes of gasps and choreography of spasms,
Like I am in a solo karaoke room with a scorned tongue and a salted chest wound.
Cough until the mosquitoes spare my blood out of apology or disgust or self-preservation.
Pity me with respect! My coughing spells out.
Language leaves me in a gust. A rib cage of wind chimes caught in a typhoon.
Cough until a whole steaming sea bass leaps out of my throat onto a platter,
Bitter jade gallbladder still shining and intact,
A birthday present just for myself.
Cough until the neighbors call the cops and complain
About a menace with a messed up exhaust pipe
Drifting through town from who knows where, crashing any day now.
I cough and cough until I am not afraid to make even the ghosts worry about me.
pair with this short film
A serpent’s throat
Dry and aching
My heart reboots
Glitchy organ of
Allergic to anti-venom
As she tends to
Tangled in not care
A tint of the past
A fixed fallen lash
Curled up in girly laughs
We clicked and called to share frequency
Our hearts hurt in Hz
So sick, on vacation
And getting busted for truancy
Who you gonna call
When there’s an emergency
Lost in your history?
Old sunken boats
Young hungry silver teeth
The sky tries
To disconnect the moon
And candy forgets that it’s sweet
Cowards, stop reaching
Dig in those roots
Recline the body
By scratchy sand
Signature move? Across the sea
With our arms, we
Brace ourselves to dance
DACBEET (Betty Nguyễn) is a multidisciplinary artist with roots in Vietnam and the Ohlone Land known as San Jose, California, currently on a community arts fellowship in Osaka, Japan. Her working days are spent organizing arts programming and designing creative experiences with communities to promote health, belonging, and liberation. As a multidisciplinary artist with a DIY upbringing, she experiments with the mediums available to her and is influenced by living and ancestral creatures, strangeness, transformation, and wonder. She is sometimes guided and sometimes haunted by a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University and an M.A. in Arts in Medicine from the University of Florida. She can be found on Instagram at @dacbeet (general) and @dac_beet (visual art-specific).