Poem of the Week, by Chen Chen

My poems podcast, Words by Wintercan be found here.

This gorgeous poem goes out to all the gay men –my love and thanks for the boundless comfort and acceptance and laughter and love you have given me my entire adult life–and gay women and gay children and teens I’ve loved in my life, and lo, there are so many.

To my family and everyone in it, gay and straight and trans and bi and anything else that might come along. To all the beautiful men in drag I admired in the women’s room at Man Ray back in the day. To all of you we lost to the plague.

To saying no to people who tell you you’re a no. To everyone who stands up for others, known or not. Most of all, to the absolute joy of being exactly who you are in the midst of people who love you for exactly that.

Summer, by Chen Chen

You are the ice cream sandwich connoisseur of your generation.

Blessed are your floral shorteralls, your deeply pink fanny pack with travel-size lint roller just in case.

Level of splendiferous in your outfit: 200.

Types of invisible pain stemming from adolescent disasters in classrooms, locker rooms, & quite often Toyota Camrys: at least 10,000.

You are not a jigglypuff, not yet a wigglytuff.

Reporters & fathers call your generation “the worst.”

Which really means “queer kids who could go online & learn that queer doesn’t have to mean disaster.”

Or dead.

Instead, queer means, splendiferously, you.

& you means someone who knows that common flavors for ice cream sandwiches in Singapore include red bean, yam, & honeydew.

Your powers are great, are growing.

One day you will create an online personality quiz that also freshens the breath.

The next day you will tell your father, You were wrong to say that I had to change.

To make me promise I would. To make me promise.

& promise.

For more information on Chen Chen, please check out their website.


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