Issue 31 – 2020 – Dean Young

April Lure


That I could have so thoroughly lost my way
not because the alley goes into fog,
fog has always been guide-dog to
anyone like me not because of any
particular history but because
the whole tsunamic dust of it,
the big iron chunk of it
that I would never see you again,
that my hands and feet will sink
separately in scattered lakes,
that the sky will look like glass
and feel like what forged it,
butterflies evaporating like gasoline,
chandeliers of skeletons
and that little muddy bunny
flood-snagged in the sumac.


Against Constant Objection


Look at that kid playing closer and closer
to the cliff. As good a way as any I guess
to practice lines for Hamlet although
there’s always someone who thinks it’s their job
to run around screaming stop, PhDs perfectly
comfortable with their headless statues.
You can see how it backs things up,
how the whole thing buckles, sand seeping.
Just look at this flowering branch—every 11th
blossom’s stifled, malformed, bird-pooped-upon,
no one liking its poem. It’s a law not just
a song. Just watch the waves and every 11th or so
trips over itself. But by the side of the burning store,
shoppers still line up, along the side of the bookcase,
a switch swings open a secret door.
Something crucial’s down there, famished,
freaked in the center of its mythological
anaphylactic wail like a short wave radio
pulling in the Big Bang, aberrant and wild
like something being born.


By the Light of the Jungle Gym


I may indeed have left the party early
but not before the turntable was set on fire
so we could dance to Jumping Jack Flash melting.
The night was green as dew
upon the cheek of some goddess
in a vegetative state and Dracula
was lashing his horse down on us.
I was afraid the peppermint schnapps
was wearing off and the occulus
that had promised a portal into
another, sweeter world could no more
compensate for my inability to dance
or explain myself or my whereabouts,
the gestalt chunkier than usual
like it’s been mixed wrong.
Oh well, we all have our own work
to avoid. Maybe I’m just suffering
from the aborted dreams of an absorbed twin,
the way any light at the end of any dock
gives me a literary rush, my thing for crickets
and the smell of grass. Basically, everything’s
shivery dots slamming into themselves anyway.
Sometimes you look at something—there two of them
and yes I should know by now when walking down
a dark alley, never to turn around but officer,
I swear this is all only my own blood.


Dean Young has published 20 books, most recently Solar Perplexus.