Chen Chen

memoir of the present moment

it’s the middle of—the week? the street? the sentence,

please i need to borrow your basket because?


i’m looking for something. so ticklish with sound,

eerie with truth. like really good dance music.


like i’m in the middle of—a forest? a pancake? a pancake

burning in a forest while the forest remains calm?


perhaps i’m simply craving breakfast foods.         

or what’s burning is me, the most oily of pronouns,


the life crisis that is not yet mid-, is always mid-,

is living. i’m the mid- of a foggy dialect,


garbled district. a primeval game

of telephone. i’m a muddle


trying to dial the cosmos. to sing out

another dizzying bit—of this.


“memoir of the present moment” first appeared in Phantom, 2016.