Queer Poem-a-Day is a program from the Adult Services Department at the Library and may include adult language.
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.”
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.
Copyright © 2021 by Chen Chen. Used with the permission of the author. Previously published in Poetry Magazine in March 2021.
About the Author
Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was long-listed for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears/is forthcoming in many publications, including Ploughshares, Poem-a-Day, and three editions of The Best American Poetry (2015, 2019, and 2021). He has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. With a brilliant team, he edits the journal Underblong. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence and lives in Waltham, MA with his partner Jeff Gilbert and their pug Mr. Rupert Giles. For more: chenchenwrites.com
- Day 1: Pride Month by Shelley Wong
- Day 2: Is This or Is This True as Happiness by Derrick Austin
- Day 3: Nature Poem by Sam Herschel Wein
- Day 4: Ana I Don’t Forget by Gala Mukomolova
- Day 5: Eavesdropping on Adam and Eve by Andrea Cohen
- Day 6: Billow of Thistles by Ruben Quesada
- Day 7: Prayer for My Trans Siblings by H. Melt
- Day 8: Summer by Chen Chen
- Day 9: Embers by Henri Cole
- Day 10: Male Beauty by Richie Hofmann
- Day 11: [unsent draft] by Rachel Mennies
- Day 12: Forty by Julia Guez
- Day 13: Of Contour, of Cadence by Phillip B. Williams
- Day 14: The Men We Loved by Cyril Wong
- Day 15: Riding the Bus Back to Oxford by Catherine Pond
- Day 16: The Window by Jay Besemer
- Day 17: Want Could Kill Me by Xandria Phillips
- Day 18: What a Waste by Jill McDonough
- Day 19: Eros by Randall Mann
- Day 20: An Act by Michael M. Weinstein
- Day 21: Things I Didn’t Do With this Body and Things I Did by Amanda Gunn
- Day 22: Puzzle Pieces by D. A. Powell
- Day 23: Duplicity by Jameson Fitzpatrick
- Day 24: Is It True All Legends Once Were Rumors by Carl Phillips
- Day 25: High School Sleepovers with Straight Girls by Julian Guy
- Day 26: Abu Nuwas by Kazim Ali
- Day 27: Observation Car by Lauren Clark
- Day 28: Love Song by Eileen Myles
- Day 29: Donuts by Dan Kraines
- Day 30: The Lone Palm by Jenny Johnson
Queer Poem-a-Day is directed by poet and teacher Lisa Hiton and Dylan Zavagno, Adult Services Coordinator at the Deerfield Public Library. Music for this second year of our series is the first movement, Schéhérazade, from Masques, Op. 34, by Karol Szymanowski, performed by pianist Daniel Baer. Queer Poem-a-Day is supported by generous donations from the Friends of the Deerfield Public Library and the Deerfield Fine Arts Commission.