Origins of a Poem

by Chen Chen

This poem started out as a tweet that was a bit more lyrical than usual. One of my favorite joys: when poems come from unexpected, seemingly unpoetic places.

I Love You to the Moon &

not back, let’s not come back, let’s go by the speed of
queer zest & stay up
there & get ourselves a little
moon cottage (so pretty), then start a moon garden

with lots of moon veggies (so healthy), i mean
i was already moonlighting
as an online moonologist
most weekends, so this is the immensely

logical next step, are you
packing your bags yet, don’t forget your
sailor moon jean jacket, let’s wear
our sailor moon jean jackets while twirling in that lighter,

queerer moon gravity, let’s love each other
(so good) on the moon, let’s love
the moon
on the moon

Copyright 2021 by Chen Chen. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on May 31, 2021, then reprinted in Explodingly Yours (Ghost City Press, 2023). Reprinted with permission of author. 

Learn to Write Poems Celebrating Connection and Love: A Masterclass with Chen Chen

TUESDAY, JANUARY 23: “Happy Poems!” 6:00-8:00 p.m. via Zoom.

Do happy poems exist? If they do, can they be as good as the poems that wreck us? Can a happy poem wreck us? And how can we avoid sentimentality or, is that a risk we just need to take? In this generative session, we’ll look at Ross Gay’s essay, “Joy Is Such a Human Madness” as a compass for our discussion and a starting point for writing about/from/through happiness, joy, and pleasure. Within the genre of happy poems, we’ll think about poems that celebrate love, sex, community, and connection of various kinds. Come prepared to engage in jubilant experimentation. Info and registration

About Chen

Chen Chen is the author of two books of poetry, Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency (BOA Editions, 2022) and When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award. His work appears in many publications, including Poetry and three editions of The Best American Poetry. He was the 2018-22 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University and currently teaches for the low-residency M.F.A. programs at New England College and Stonecoast. Visit his website: