The New Optimism

By Dean Young b. 1955 Dean Young
The recital of the new optimism
was oft interrupted, rudeness
in the ramparts, an injured raven
that needed attendance, pre-op
nudity. The young who knew everything
was new made babies who unforeseeably
would one day present their complaint.
Enough blame to go around but the new
optimism didn’t stop, helped one
pick up a brush, another a spatula
even as the last polar bear sat
on his shrinking berg thinking,
I have been vicious but my soul is pure.
And the new optimism loves the bear’s
soul and makes images of it to sell
at fair-trade craft fairs with laboriously
knotted hunks of rope, photos of cheese,
soaps with odd ingredients, whiskey,
sand, hamburger drippings, lint,
any and everything partaking of the glowing
exfoliating cleanup. And the seal
is sponged of oil spill. And the broken
man is wheeled in a meal. War finally
seems stupid enough. You look an animal
in the eye before eating it and the gloomy
weather makes the lilacs grow. Hello,
oceans of air. Your dead cat loves you
forever and will welcome you forever home.

Source: Poetry (October 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the October 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

October 2010
 Dean  Young

Biography

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 Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Southwestern

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