Chen Chen

Song with a Lyric from Allen Ginsberg

The trees, a madness of white & wind,

we, a madness of sweat & rope,

ropes of semen lassoing each other, closer—


our competing, conspiring tongues, nipples,

armpits, the terribly neglected inside bits

of our elbows, which we’ve dubbed “bowpits,”


& kiss. & my mind sometimes wanders during,

but it’s OK, I’m thinking of Ginsberg’s letters

to friends & lovers, how once I read a small hill


of them in the library & some were poems & some

were prayers, cries, ejaculate, & now all I remember

is I love you I love you, & how long would it take


to read all the world’s letters, sent (& unsent),

every I love you (I love you), & can you believe the trees,

out our bedroom window, what a turn-on, nature,


even in winter, no I don’t think the earth ever stops

being alive, just ask Allen or his boyfriend Walt

or anyone who’s recently had an orgasm or two.


When I fall asleep, in the after-love dream, the old man

at the intersection again, waiting for the light to change—

a cone of black raspberry ice cream in hand & some of it


messing his great white beard as he dips down to lick.

His look, not of joy but impatience, like him & ice cream

got a meeting, got other hims & ice creams to see.



“Song with a Lyric from Allen Ginsberg” is from When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017)