could it snow in memory of Jean Valentine, 1934-2020 could it snow a little less quaintly? i wake & crave your unruly dreamprints down a page. 5:30am: somehow my eyes are open before the dog’s. still, he’s busy, performing his ventriloquist band of other animals: little pig snorts, big goat bleats, medium cat mews. strange soundtrack to a good memory: you, after your reading, after i said it was not yet but almost my birthday, you signed my book with that date, then smiling, said, poets can lie! i lied: the dog, in the morning, always rises first. truth is, it’s only when he’s napping that i hear his music. truth is, it’s my boyfriend who first called it music, who just earlier today said, he was playing his songs again, all the greatest hits. so were you, by the way, so loud & so right into my face, i had to roll you over. truth is, that has happened many times. truth: it’s 5:30pm, it’s snowing & i’ve been hoping this true happening is you. i want to hear your sound inside the snow’s species of saying. i want to lie & say i hear you singdreaming right into my ear. but i don’t. no. & that’s not what you meant by poets lying. i’m not sure you meant anything more than something that would make me smile, too. that does. i like to think you meant: remember this is a gift—this wondering work. give strange care to such weather.
please give me another poem. no, more love. no, another love poem. no, knowledge as to which is the better torment: the desire for words or the desire for connection but what do i even mean by better— greater? lesser? my artist friend comes back from his studio & says, you have to have multiple spirals, not just one, multiple makes them more manageable spirals & i say, yes, though i know he means ones that are ultimately one, spirals that are all tunnels to art— though i know he must also experience, at times, in his own ways, spiraling outside the studio, in the snow, along with the snow & the wind, to the point where it’s unclear, despite how much anyone knows, it’s unknown whether it’s the wind pushing the snow in your face or the snow driving itself or your face, twisted, twisting, unmanaged, unmanageable, your own face making this weather you want to walk out of while walking deeper into
About the Author Chen Chen is the author of the poetry collection, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and the forthcoming book of essays, In Cahoots with the Rabbit God (Noemi Press, 2024). His debut book of poems, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. He teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast.
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