Monday, February 14, 2011

So You Think You Don't Like Valentine's Day, I mean, Poetry

Given the day, it seems appropriate to post this poem. Also relevant is the fact that the poet, Dean Young, is in need of a heart transplant
. Please, someone give this man a new heart so that he can keep writing poems like this one. Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!

On Being Asked By A Student If He Should Ask Out Some Girl

I say get her alone in a kitchen.
I say what Keats said.
I say don't wear that. I display the driftwood
you picked up at McClure's the day we saw the whale.
Part question mark, part claw, part stroke
personified. I say buy her a box of crayons,
the big 64 box. I say you'll be dead soon
anyway. Outside the snow hesitates and thaws
but my office has no windows. I say my office
has no windows and down the hall
the copy machines moan, Again, again,
my chair all swiveling squawk.
I say when I was young.
I tell about carrying your chair across the bridge
and how sick your cockatoo seemed the first weeks
in our new apartment. I say we'll be dead soon
anyway. I explain how after looking half the afternoon
for two socks, one mine, one yours, we find them
under a pillow, nestled together like newts in love.
I say it's hopeless as holding a bag of strawberries
in the rain. I mean what happens to wet paper bags.
I say climb the mountain. I read some Donne aloud
like I'm paid to do. I move the triangle
toward the furnace as indication of the indeterminacy
of all human affairs. There is no triangle, there is no
furnace. I say when I was alone
and miserable. I let the canoe stutter
and drift. I lift my hands like someone asked to dance
a dance I don't know how to. I have this pain.
I have died this way in a previous life,
my armor clattering in the dust.
It's spring in the Alps. On Venus it's Spring
and tiny Venusians chortle with sobs far beyond
our registers, inventing new forms of love.
I ask her name. I say spell it. I ask, What
did you get on the midterm? Across the hall,
my colleague explains something 18th century
to a cloud of perfume. I am thinking
this morning to discard the opera,
wrote John Cheever in his journal.
To find out why life has this huge dog,
wrote Vallejo in Spanish in Paris.
He fell over coughing up blood.
If I had my notebook, I'd cross everything out.
I love the sea, how it crosses everything out.
I almost start talking about Wisconsin.
I say, You can do two things, maybe three.
I say the final's on Monday,
mostly short answer, some i.d.

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