From My Commonplace Book - 6

Mortal Poem

by Dean Young

I do not understand why I love you.
The mustard in your hair? Your breasts
like shiny battleships, your thought control?
Reasons seem so insufficient, reason itself
seems insufficient. The sea rushes up
to the beach of no reason, inveigling
chimes of no reason, greenery recumbent
upon the landscape of no reason.

Within the mountain is a valley, within
the blue sky, the red one. I don't understand

the weather although I am heavy thralled.
Scraping the windshield made me late, fog
makes me first, cloud shaped like Africa
and I never arrive. Lighting must be
very quick to do its job, otherwise
it'd illumine nothing, pound no chest,
put no lips to unbreathing mouths.

There is an inner weather and an outer weather.
Within the seed is the hundred-year-old tree.
Within the eye is an arrow, the heart a storm
while outside it's warm and bony.
It's a mistake to think

everything is inside one's head. Always
darkness somewhere, giraffes with blue
tongues and who would've thought of that?
Opals dissolve in ordinary water, being
part water themselves. When inside the opal,
I often dream I'm swimming, when inside
you, I'm a flood. When inside the jail cell,

I wasn't in full comprehension although
all seemed one clear instance of form
matched to function: lidless toilet
merged with slab you can sit
or lie upon, floor with a drain somewhere
toward the middle, all one poured

stone unlike the butterfly.

The anvil must be very hard
to do its job but what flies off
isn't sparks, it's pomegranates,
peach blossoms, sharks, it's
the beginning

of the world and we are not a hammer swung
but what's under. O my darling, last night
I woke with pain in my chest but
it is gone this morning.

The poem appears in Dean Young's First Course in Turbulence.


Wow. I love that .I'm going to check out more of his poetry. Wonderful, rich imagery, full of surprise! Thank you.
thank you Merry for taking the time to post this intreguing poem.
Thanks, Emmanuelle and Nico.

I discovered Dean Young in a book that was a collection of Robert Hass's poetry columns. Robert Hass called Dean Young a surrealist and then went on to say that this country's surrealists are all midwesterners. I'm still puzzling over his statements. Perhaps because I am a midwesterner I can't see Dean Young as a surrealist - everything he says makes perfect sense to me. Dean Young and I are dreaming the same dreams.
Correction: Dean Young was born and raised in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania is not the Midwest.

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