Academy of American Poets
View Cart | Log In 
Subscribe | More Info 
Find a Poet or Poem
Advanced Search >
Want more poems?
Subscribe to our
Poem-A-Day emails.
FURTHER READING
Poems by Ken Chen
Cruel Cogito
Dramatic Monologue Against the Self
My Father and My Mother Decide My Future, and How Could We Forget Wang Wei?
Related Poems
3 Men: Portraits Without the Human Figure
by Deena Linnett
Marble Hill
by Kazim Ali
One of the Lives
by W. S. Merwin
Sponsor a Poet Page | Add to Notebook | Email to Friend | Print

Brief Lives [excerpt]

 
by Ken Chen

Descartes in Love

Love, accepting that we are not pure and lucent hearts, ricocheting towards each other like unlatched stars—no, we are tainted with self. We sometimes believe the self is an invisible glass, just as we believe the body is a suit made of meat. Doubt all things invisible. Doubt all things visible.

Colin Powell

Not to be a tragic person. What is a tragic person? The victim of a crime who does not realize the criminal is himself.

Adonis Prettyboy in Hell

And then her son with love-gun and a quiver
snatched a love-shaft and delivered—a twiggy arrow 
in her nipple like a nasty sliver...
A big pig stuck me with his tusk, but it's life that's the bore, silly!
I never got desire, I always got what I wanted
And in this hallway incredulous of lights, I want wild pears, firm booblike fruit—Daffodils! 
Clovers! And the trill of starlings why not! We could grow 
apples here... Apples? So, I suppose I do miss her

          —You know when I fell out of life
I grabbed her heart like a rope;

Virginia Woolf

The target audience of my secrets is not my friends, but my journals and the strangers who will read them in the future.

Child of Immigrants

I used to pretend I was American.
This was until I realized I was American.

Richard Rorty

What is forgiveness? When someone else's sin becomes merely an action we ourselves might plausibly commit. The virtue of hypocrisy—we temporarily become people other than ourselves and can notice our actions from the other side, as saintly as no one.

Io

Symbol is 
abridgement. I am not a cow and Argus not omniscience. 
We are clockfraught beings. 
The man I love stopped my heart when he froze the world to night. 
My heart being part of the world.









Copyright 2011 by Ken Chen. Used with permission of the author.
Larger TypeLarger Type | Home | Help | Contact Us | Privacy Policy Copyright © 1997 - 2014 by Academy of American Poets.