Saturday, July 9, 2016

Dean Young, Shock by Shock

Dean Young, Shock by Shock
Copper Canyon Press, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-155659-431-1

Dean Young’s most recent book of poetry, Shock by Shock, was written in the aftermath of heart failure and a heart transplant (in 2011).  Not surprisingly, many of the poems involve mortality, death, and survival.  I’ve been reading his work for 15 years or so, and this is about as good as it gets.  His language is sharp and his images are vivid, and if you don’t have tears in your eyes a lot of the time, there’s something wrong with you.  A line from the final poem in the book, “Believe in Magic”:

“I believe reality is approximately 65 percent if.”

And, “Exit Strategies”:

“Second to last day of November
2014, a year I can almost admit
to surviving.  In an airport
in North Carolina, Laurie looks up
from her phone and says, Sad news.
No one is allowed to live forever
so that part isn’t a surprise.
The whole flight back I try to block out
the kid screaming behind me
even though he is me.
The stewardess tries her toy-plane
trick followed by the beverage cart.
I wish I was an ancient Chinese poet
so drunk even the moon seems sober.
I wish my mind was a flower.
Carry me oh carry me home.”

Also on the back cover, from a   poem titled “To the Critics”:

“…Have you ever tried
to stand up on a bicycle?
Have you ever tried to stand up
on a bicycle made of glass
juggling lemon trees while
a huge rectangle of darkness
approacheth on wheelchair wheels?
Sure you have.”

What I really want to do is type the whole book out for you, but that would be wrong.

No comments:

Post a Comment