In Chanteuse, Mark Doty presents a love from which only memories remain. Through the lines arrayed like a prose, we sense that the speaker tries to hold his memories by describing the city, Boston, in which he lived with his lover. In a way, he tries to make the city meaningful for their separation like the time they were together. But, Doty’s trick is that for the speaker, not city itself but a drag queen, a chanteuse, makes his love and pain meaningful. In other words, Doty tries to deceive us by describing the city in details so that we confuse with what the speaker consoles himself.
When we fall in love with someone, the places where we spend time with our lover gain a new meaning. These causal places, in a way, are filled up with memories.