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Poems by Ken Chen
Brief Lives [excerpt]
Dramatic Monologue Against the Self
My Father and My Mother Decide My Future, and How Could We Forget Wang Wei?
Poems about the Afterlife
Advice to Passengers
by John Gallaher
Beyond Even This
by Maggie Anderson
Beyond the Years
by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Descriptions of Heaven and Hell
by Mark Jarman
En Route
by Darcie Dennigan
by Lia Purpura
Heaven for Helen
by Mark Doty
How Can It Be I Am No Longer I
by Lucie Brock-Broido
In a Country
by Larry Levis
Larry Levis in Provincetown
by Rick Hilles
Mummy of a Lady Named Jemutesonekh
XXI Dynasty

by Thomas James
Populating Heaven
by Maureen N. McLane
by Maxine Kumin
Red String
by Minnie Bruce Pratt
Song ["When I am dead, my dearest"]
by Christina Rossetti
The Book of the Dead Man (Food)
by Marvin Bell
The Odyssey, Book 11: ll. 538-556
by Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Poems about the End of the World
Poetry as Insurgent Art [I am signaling you through the flames]
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
A Song On the End of the World
by Czeslaw Milosz
by Gerald Stern
Apocalypse Soliloquy
by Scott Hightower
by A. R. Ammons
Fire and Ice
by Robert Frost
in the ruins
by Mark Conway
The Truth About the Present
by John Lane
The Very Nervous Family
by Sabrina Orah Mark
Dead Father Poems
Do not go gentle into that good night
by Dylan Thomas
Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World
by Sherman Alexie
Lay Back the Darkness
by Edward Hirsch
Little Father
by Li-Young Lee
by William Knox
My Father
by Scott Hightower
My Father on His Shield
by Walt McDonald
My Father's Hat
by Mark Irwin
by William Meredith
Renewal [Excerpt]
by Chris Abani
Separation is the necessary condition for light.
by Brian Teare
The Figure
by Joseph Fasano
The Gift
by Li-Young Lee
Those Winter Sundays
by Robert Hayden
To Her Father with Some Verses
by Anne Bradstreet
Whose Mouth Do I Speak With
by Suzanne Rancourt
Working Late
by Louis Simpson
by W. S. Merwin
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Cruel Cogito

by Ken Chen

How joyous!, 
passing this time alone 
with your father, how bright his golden laugh 
which drew you to laugh yourself uncontrolled, 
how sweet the happy hour oysters you two pry and eat, 
piling wobbling shells that glisten on the table
while the pianist plays by the kitchen doors. 
You find yourself reminded of what you wrote 
in the eulogy: that you two would still possess 
a relationship even though 
he was dead, that you could still 
go and speak with him 
when you dreamed

and so you see the seat opposite from you seats no one.
About this poem:
"This is an early scene from a book-length manuscript called The Death Star, concerning the death of the author's father. The manuscript explores the idea of death as a form of immigration--and re-imagines the underworld not as a metaphysical idea but as a spatial location and Tristan not as an epic lover but as a fallible interpreter for asylum cases to the underworld. Many of the poems focus on the apocalypse (as well as its opposite, cosmogony), with a hint of hysterical science fiction and magical kitsch, and a special emphasis on that most apocalyptic historical moment: imperialism."

—Ken Chen

Copyright 2013 by Ken Chen. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-A-Day on October 21, 2013. Browse the Poem-A-Day archive.
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