Dean Young
Myth Mix

In the beginning, everything is mingled

and joined, all the halves hooked up,

nothing reft or twain, no missing buttons,

no lone baby shoes lying by the off-ramps.

In the beginning everything’s combined

smaller than an atom and that’s the first

happiness which makes all the later happinesses

like threads snagged from a tapestry.

So, fine: everything’s all smashed together

but then along comes coyote and pisses on it

then the ticking starts and the dark arabesques,

the scarlet wheels and none of us can get

far enough away from each other

and none of us can get close enough

so these two desires lie on top of each other

and make more desires but some come out

mangled, missing wings, with angry mouths.

They’re the despairs. So all these desires

and despairs are zipping around looking for

parking spaces, crashing into each other

so it’s like a big party with ambulances

where some signifiers are weeping in the bushes,

some are eating the cake’s giant sugar rose

and one drinks too much ambrosia and vomits

Jimi Hendrix who helps make pain beautiful

and later more and more gold hammers

are called in to make pain really beautiful.

Which gets Zeus’s attention so he throws down

some lightning bolts which is pretty much

his response to everything, vaporizing some

cheerleaders but mostly just blasting holes

in the ground which people use as basements

for buildings where they go and invent ways

to kill dandelions that also kill ants and

the warblers who eat the ants then the warblers

fall into the river and the river loses consciousness

and has to be put on life support. Then the nurse,

who is trying to raise two boys and actualize

herself, one night opens a window in the river’s

semi-private room and there’s the Void.

Uh-oh. She feels pretty dumb opening

a window on the Void but now she can’t

get it closed and it’s making a high

lisping she can’t get out of her head so

she tells her group and they try to sympathize

but each is obviously relieved not to be

that fucked up. So she gets used to it,

starts to hum along a little and the place

is looking tidier and she feels almost relaxed.

Those appointments - what were they?

But all this time the universe is flitting

away, cotton swab by cotton swab,

salamander by salamander, Woolworths,

old movie stars, whole blocks’ of the town

she was born in and the window keeps

getting wider until it’s the whole wall,

the ward, East and then everyone

who’s left can feel things missing

but not what, just a sense of empty

velvet-lined indentations, sighs in halls,

tissue paper, loose chains clanking in streets

that lunge into fog and then there’s a lurch

and the word lurch floats off the last page

leaving behind a single blue line then

the line becomes a dot and the dot becomes

a hole and no one knows if that’s the first

happiness come back or not but you won’t have to

lie, your hands won’t swell up, you won’t

have to pee into a plastic cup, blood

won’t fill your mouth as strangers

ask your name. You won’t have to carry

anything. It will be like sleeping and

you won’t have to worry if you are really loved.

Found In Volume 27, No. 06
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Dean Young
About the Author

Dean Young’s books  include Bender: New and Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2012); Primitive Mentor(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008); Embryoyo(McSweeney's, 2007); Ready-Made Bouquet (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2005); and Elegy on Toy Piano (2005), a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also the author of The Art of Recklessness: Poetry as Assertive Force and Contradiction (Graywolf Press, 2010), a book of prose about poetry.