Song with a Lyric from Allen Ginsberg by Chen Chen


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.

Chen Chen is a Poetry Editor for Salt Hill and a University Fellow at Syracuse University. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, DIAGRAM, Connotation Press, PANK, CURA, Nepantla, and other places. He has received fellowships from Kundiman, Tent: Creative Writing, and the Saltonstall Foundation.