9.8 / August 2014

Two Poems

for i will do/undo what was done/undone to me

i pledge allegiance to the already fallen snow
& to the snow now falling. to the old snow & the new.
to foot & paw & tire prints in the snow both young & aging,
the deep & shallow marks left on cold streets, our long

misbegotten manuscripts. i pledge allegiance to the weather
report that promises more snow, plus freezing rain.
though i would minus the pluvial & plus the multitude

of messages pressed muddy into the perfectly
mutable snow, i have faith in the report that goes on to read:
by the end of the week, there will be an increased storm-related
illegibility of the asphalt & concrete & brick. for i pledge

betrayal to the fantasy of ever reading anything
completely. for i will do/undo what was done/undone to me:
to be brought into a patterned world of weathers

& reports. & thus i pledge allegiance to the always
partial, the always translated, the always never
of knowing who’s walking around, what’s being left behind,
the signs, the cries, the breadcrumbs & the blood. the toe-

nails & armpit hair of our trying & failing to speak
our specks of here to the everywhere. dirty snow of my weary
city, i ask you to tell me a story about your life

& you tell me you’ve left for another country,
but forgot your suitcase. at the airport they told you
not to worry, all your things have already been sent
to your new place by your ninth grade french teacher,

the only nice one. & the weather where your true love is
is governed by principles or persons you can’t name,

imagine. it is that good, or bad.


undo me
left & sight
north & mouth
uncompass me
with your tender
your further
& sideways
come on
murk me blue me
knock me out out
of me my
tight &
goodly just sweetly
behead me
with your babel
& juice your fiddle
your ruse your
arson your trees your
armpits your fishes
your loco your lilts
your mango
your licks

Chen Chen is a Kundiman Fellow, a University Fellow at Syracuse, and a Poetry Editor for Salt Hill. His work has appeared/is forthcoming in The Massachusetts Review, DIAGRAM, Tupelo Quarterly, Connotation Press, Codex Journal, Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Color, among other places. Visit him at chenchenwrites.com.