Selected Recent and New Errors

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
My books are full of mistakes
but not the ones Tony’s always pointing out
as if correct spelling is what could stop the conveyor belt
the new kid caught his arm in.
Three weeks on the job and he’s already six hundred
legal pages, lawyers haggling in an office
with an ignored view of the river
pretending to be asleep, pretending
to have insight into its muddy self.
You think that’s a fucked-up, drawn-out metaphor,
try this: if you feel you’re writhing like a worm
in a bottle of tequila, you don’t know
it’s the quickness of its death that reveals
the quality of the product, its proof.
I don’t know what I’m talking about either.
Do you think the dictionary ever says to itself
I’ve got these words that mean completely
different things inside myself
and it’s tearing me apart?
My errors are even bigger than that.
You start taking down the walls of your house,
sooner or later it’ll collapse
but not before you can walk around
with your eyes closed, rolled backwards
and staring straight into the amygdala’s meatlocker
and your own damn self hanging there.
Do that for awhile and it’s easier to delight   
in snow that lasts about twenty minutes
longer than a life held together
by the twisted silver baling wire
of deception and stealth.
But I ain’t confessing nothing.
On mornings when I hope you forget my name,
I walk through the high wet weeds
that don’t have names either.
I do not remember the word dew.
I do not remember what I told you
with your ear in my teeth.
Further and further into the weeds.
We have absolutely no proof
god isn’t an insect
rubbing her hind legs together to sing.
Or boring into us like a yellow jacket
into a fallen, overripe pear.
Or an assassin bug squatting over us,
shoving a proboscis right through
our breast plate then sipping.
How wonderful our poisons don’t kill her.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2008).


This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2008
 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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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Reading & Books, Poetry & Poets, Humor & Satire

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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