Four Anecdotes From the Life of Dang Yo-une

By Mary Ruefle b. 1952 Mary Ruefle
He stood outside the gates of Lhasa for four days
singing I fall upon the thorns of life,
I bleed, but the berries are delicious
if you remember to wash them.

The surface of his coca-cola sparkled so—
atoms of joy leapt from it like salmon in mid-stream!
He drank, then wiped the fish off his lips.

Wearing the pussy white suit of an astronaut
he tried to mount his horse
who pushed him baroquely
till he fell rococo and lanced.

Innumerable horses race insanely
into the peak of battle
unaware Admiral van Euckhuysen is a tulip.
Dang, too, pretended he was a cat
and buried a bone.

Mary Ruefle, “Four Anecdotes From the Life of Dang Yo-une” from Post Meridian. Copyright © 2000 by Mary Ruefle. Reprinted by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press.

Source: Post Meridian (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000)

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Poet Mary Ruefle b. 1952

POET’S REGION U.S., New England

 Mary  Ruefle


Though poet and essayist Mary Ruefle was born outside Pittsburgh, she spent her youth moving around the United States and Europe with her military family.

She has written numerous books of poetry, including Indeed I Was Pleased with the World (2007) and The Adamant (1989), which won the Iowa Poetry Prize. A Little White Shadow (2006), her book of erasures—found texts in which all but a few words have been erased from the . . .

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POET’S REGION U.S., New England

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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