A couple of amazing poems – not by me

I wanted to share two of my most favorite poems, by Dean Young. He lives in Berkeley, and I am dying to meet him.


Ash Ode

When I saw you ahead I ran two blocks
shouting your name then realizing it wasn’t
you but some alarmed pretender, I went on
running, shouting now into the sky,
continuing your fame and luster. Since I’ve
been incinerated, I’ve oft returned to this thought,
that all things loved are pursued and never caught,
even as you slept beside me you were flying off.
At least what’s never had can’t be lost, the sieve
of self stuck with just some larger chunks, jawbone,
wedding ring, a single repeated dream,
a lullaby in every elegy, descriptions
of the sea written in the desert, your broken
umbrella, me claiming I could fix it.


Ode to Hangover

Hangover, you drive me into the yard
to dig holes as a way of working through you
as one might work through a sorry childhood
by riding the forbidden amusement park rides
as a grown-up until puking. Alas, I feel like
something spit out by a duck, a duck
other ducks are ashamed of when I only
tried to protect myself by projecting myself
on hilarity’s big screen at the party
where one nitwit reminisced about the 39¢
a pound chicken of his youth and another said,
Don’t go to Italy in June, no one goes to Italy in June.
Protect myself from boring advice,
from the boring past and the boring present
at the expense of an unnauseating future:
now. But look at these newly-socketed lilacs!
Without you, Hangover, they would still be
trapped in their buckets and not become
the opposite of vomit just as you, Hangover,
are the opposite of Orgasm. Certainly
you go on too long and in your grip
one thinks, How to have you never again?
whereas Orgasm lasts too short some seconds
and immediately one plots to repeat her.
After her I could eat a car but here’s
a pineapple/clam pizza and Chinese milkshake
yum but Hangover, you make me aspire
to a saltine. Both of you need to lie down,
one with a cool rag across the brow, shutters
drawn, the other in a soft jungle gym, yahoo,
this puzzle has 15 thousand solutions!
Here’s one called Rocking Horse
and how about Sunshine in the Monkey Tree.
Chug, chug, goes the arriving train,
those on the platform toss their hats and scarves
and cheer, the president comes out of the caboose
to declare, The war is over! Corks popping,
people mashing people, knocking over melon stands,
ripping millenniums of bodices. Hangover,
rest now, you’ll have lots to do later
inspiring abstemious philosophies and menial tasks
that too contribute to the beauty of this world.