Sleep Cycle

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
We cannot push ourselves away
from this quiet, even in our sprees
of inattention, the departing passengers   
stubbing out their smokes, arrivees in tears,   
lots of cellophane, the rumpus over parking.

Wind scrapes leaves across the road,   
first flashes of snow, it is dark then
it’s really dark. Forgive me for not
writing for so long, I’ve been
right beside you, one of the vaguer
divinities blocking your way with its need   
to confess all its botched attempts at love,   
what started the whole mess. I love this place,   
its absurd use of balustrade, the chairs   
that dig into the spine, motorcyclists   
propping their drunk girlfriends in the sun,   
men playing timed chess with themselves,   
the guarantees and warnings that entice us   
to the brink of what they warn about.

But we can do no more than pass through   
these rooms and their sudden chills   
where once a plea was entered almost   
unintentionally that seemed at last   
to reveal ourselves to ourselves,
immaculate, bereft, deserving to be found.

Dean Young, “Sleep Cycle” from Skid. Copyright © 2002 by Dean Young. All rights are controlled by the University of Pittsburgh Press. Reprinted with the permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press,

Source: Skid (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002)

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Poet Dean Young b. 1955

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Subjects Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Activities, Travels & Journeys

Occasions Farewells & Good Luck, Gratitude & Apologies

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Dean  Young


Poet Dean Young was born in Columbia, Pennsylvania, and received his MFA from Indiana University. Recognized as one of the most energetic, influential poets writing today, his numerous collections of poetry include Strike Anywhere (1995), winner of the Colorado Prize for Poetry; Skid (2002), finalist for the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Primitive Mentor (2008), . . .

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SUBJECT Time & Brevity, Relationships, Living, Disappointment & Failure, Activities, Travels & Journeys

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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