This week’s poem from Slate is entitled How to Glow and is written by Dean Young. I don’t know what it’s like in the corner of the globe where you’re reading this blog post, but it is currently rainy and snowy and rather miserable in Chicago. I think we could do with some glowing, don’t you? If you’d like to hear Dean Young read his poem, check out the Slate website! It’ll only take a few minutes and maybe you’ll discover a new poet whose work you can explore. Worst case scenario? You wasted a few minutes of your life. Best case scenario? You have some new art in your life! So, why not give it a listen?
According to the Poetry Foundation, Dean Young has written many collections of poetry including Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Primitive Mentor (2008), shortlisted for the International Griffin Poetry Prize. He has also written a book on poetics, The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (2010). Young has taught at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College, and the University of Texas-Austin where he holds the William Livingston Chair of Poetry.
How to Glow, by Dean Young
Either that or the police blotter.
Someone steals a bicycle because he wants
to fly. Wants a new heart. A hive on the porch.
There’s someone suspicious in the graveyard
with a torch. What the librarian needs
she cannot say but she’s listening
to Bulgarian language tapes in her car anyway.
Sure beats eating your own pancreas.
The difference between surrealism and dada
like the difference between first- and second-degree
manslaughter hardly matters to most of us.
What you get is a chalk outline of dust,
bells for no reason, mouthfuls of starlight
rusty as blood, gra gra gra gra grape stems
stammering of summer and lots of dreams
on paper like in analysis and graduate school.
The difference between graduate school and analysis
is approximately $20,000 although both
occur mainly lying down. The white coats
in the lab peer at the microscope slides
and think it’s bad news that the blood
is a wolf’s blood. Dear Oblivion, I love
your old song. Let a spinning wheel be
my fireplace, the lit-up nerves of jellyfish
my universe. The greatest indication of truth
is laughter and maybe now I’m ready
to talk to my mother and father. This morning
I have the distinct impression my house
is about to crumble so let rubble be my crown.
Release the hound! What a joke, she’s about
a hundred years old and when you look into
her almost-no-one-home eyes, you come to a river
and when you come to that river, float.
I hope you enjoyed this week’s poem from Slate. Come back next week for another, or browse the archives for more poetry.
— Jet Fuel Blog Editor, Mary Egan