Saw Dean Young crossing the street.

He was awful at it, like a chicken flying,

like a movie star with no idea

heís in a cartoon, a stack of out-

of-order signs, two bucks each.

Makes you feel better about yourself,

how you arenít doing push-ups

on top of the mountain instead of

looking back at the party you just left

at everyone dancing in devil masks.

What did you expect from a cellophane wizard

anyway, cyborg of wussy cogs? The new

queen first eats her wings for strength

if sheís lucky enough to find substrate

for her nest. The rock gets a new face

if itís lucky enough to be tumbled

in the tideís grind. Exfoliated,

meaning all the flowers yanked out.

But who thought youíd get this high anyway,

slurry of counter-sighs, nauseous astronaut?

From here on in letís let the speaker

of  this poem be a dog. Woof! No, dog.

Woof Woof! Okay, have it your way, a wolf.


After Molting, Eat Your Own Skin for Strength


Iím from wax. Iím always out.

My respiratorís warranty might last

through another crisis but even a rose

is a crisis when called on

to give a systematic accounting

of experience. Only a flood can do that.

I wish things didnít always turn out

so cow-in-a-tree mud-fugued.

Rerouted traffic: what a joke.

Divine intervention: who you kidding?

Some days itís impossible to sit in a chair

and withstand the demystification.

Every angel is an angel of demystification

no matter their cookie recipes,

canisters of laughing gas.

I canít bear the disappointment either

of the girl with her botched tattoos,

the boy with his laptop lap-dance.

Thank god they keep changing the music,

anymore rockabilly and I garrote myself

with this blue bootlace. Just what

youíd expect from a scarecrow

on a see-saw. When not wiping oil

off ducks, I like to be in love.

When in love, stunt training sure helps.

Still it hurts. Even fake and flimsy walls

take a toll crashing through.


Dean Young's most recent book is The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Greywolf, 2010). He's been awarded fellowships from the NEA and the Guggenheim Foundation, and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. Currently, he is the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Texas-Austin.