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Chen Chen


straight guy with big butt crosses the home depot parking lot
             big butt on a straight guy 
                          but god, 
                          in ugly khakis 

straight guy with big butt struts across the home depot lot 
             with a butt like that he can’t help 
             but strut
                           but fuck,
                           in ugly khakis 

straight guy with big god of a butt he’s a big buttgod but he’s got 
             on ugly khakis 
                           god fuck 
                           he’s got on 
                           khakis so ugly they are the zenith, the platonic ideal of khakis 

straight guy with big butt walks across the home depot lot 
             with his (sorry) buttless girlfriend 
             who must be (never sorry) staring 
             at his butt its heft his buttocks their bulk & truth the whole 

whole time because what else compares what else sings 
             “nothing compares 2 u”
                           about itself 
                           about such butt  
                           even when it must reside (sigh) in (so sorry) khakis

Chen Chen’s second book, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency, is from BOA Editions in September 2022 and Bloodaxe Books in October 2022. His debut, When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017; Bloodaxe Books, 2019), was long-listed for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. His work appears in many publications, including Poetry, The Poetry Review, three editions of The Best American Poetry, and The Forward Book of Poetry 2021. He has received two Pushcart Prizes and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and United States Artists. He was the 2018-2022 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and currently teaches for the low-residency MFA programs at New England College and Stonecoast.

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