Wednesday, December 10, 2008

You can take the girl out of the Midwest....

...but you can't take the Midwest out of the girl.

Tonight I attended a reading and dinner where Kevin Young was the guest of honor. I was unfamiliar with Young's work, but after hearing him, I am definitely a fan and plan to buy his latest collection, Dear Darkness, as soon as possible.

Because I'm swamped with end-of-semester assignments, I am going to simply post a poem of his that I particularly enjoy, as a native of St. Louis, Missouri. I am in the process of writing a poem about my hometown -- it's currently titled "Autumn in St. Louis County"and I started writing it when I was home for Thanksgiving. Young's poem resonated with me and hopefully will positively influence my attempt to capture, as Nelly would say, "the Lou."

"Ode to the Midwest" by Kevin Young

The country I come from
Is called the Midwest
—Bob Dylan

I want to be doused
in cheese

& fried. I want
to wander

the aisles, my heart's
supermarket stocked high

as cholesterol. I want to die
wearing a sweatsuit—

I want to live
forever in a Christmas sweater,

a teddy bear nursing
off the front. I want to write

a check in the express lane.
I want to scrape

my driveway clean

myself, early, before
anyone's awake—

that'll put em to shame—
I want to see what the sun

sees before it tells
the snow to go. I want to be

the only black person I know.

I want to throw
out my back & not

complain about it.
I wanta drive

two blocks. Why walk—

I want love, n stuff—

I want to cut
my sutures myself.

I want to jog
down to the river

& make it my bed—

I want to walk
its muddy banks

& make me a withdrawal.

I tried jumping in,
found it frozen—

I'll go home, I guess,
to my rooms where the moon

changes & shines
like television.

1 comment:

Brad Urani said...

'Tis all true! And for that I feel no shame... East Coast values I find bland... like tofu and cilantro. I'll take my sensibilities stuffed in ravioli, breaded, deep-fried and dusted with parmasean.
I do have my reservations about this post though Katie... as a former member of the cast of Rent I know the real lyrics to song you've chosen for the title and the comparison of my hometown to Hicksville is NOT appreciated :-)