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Jacket 19 — October 2002   |   # 19  Contents   |   Homepage   |  Catalog   |
This issue of Jacket is a collaboration with Verse magazine

Dean Young

Three poems

Lives of the Deep Sea Divers

I keep missing my stop so
I keep circling, waking up at the aquarium.
It’s going to be hard to see you again.
I can never go back.

I’ve lost my overcoat.
Years later I have the same headache.
My father says I’m doing it wrong.
I’ve killed someone by accident,
I don’t know who.
Everything smells rusted.

Voices arguing in another chamber.
Birds at seepage from a pile of rags.
I walk down an alley and someone
shouts from a window, then someone else,
then chasing.

I can’t move my arm.
The new diseases turn out to be
just like the old diseases except
for what happens to the nucleotides.
Still loose teeth. Still stare.
Splinter sandwich. Buzz wing.

There’s no place to wash.

When my brother died, I tried
to hold still and not rustle the cellophane.
I still couldn’t fly.
Caterpillar blood is green.
God is in twigs.
I tried to get the wet rope coiled
in the long hissing grass.

Lives of the Surge Protectors

When she said what she said I
get out change the locks get
drunk fucked out detach drum
whocome howwhich no so I go
program the robot like I always do
in a loud den of panged sentinels
highlit and lifting off the page like
little wolves of italics orchestrating
the ephemeral, enflorescent As If
with blutzed butanes and all you hear
is snow, false as only facts can be.
Any questions so far? Sometimes the ad-
hesives give and a cop’s got to pop
the saxophonist squoinking everything
into Amazing Grace otherwise same old
same old, everyone getting younger,
litigating embryos, the chaff of past
soliloquies obscuring the me-moan skee.
You wish. Pay cash says the exit interviewer
or maybe Fat ass. A cable comes out
the chest for syphoning. At the end
of the world, only my robot’s left.
He swizzles and churs, his program
says wait until the meteor cools
before stropping your scalpels snikt
snikt on your palms then twitter
like a cremated bird.

Lives of the Veterans

Byzantium was once a city on the Bosporus
famous for talking fountains.
World War I made everything evaporate.
At the time, it was the saddest thing,
men limped around London and Berlin
with shards of it sticking out their movements.
Some came back with idiotic ditties
trapped in their hippocampus. Others
strolled around for hours in wet dresses,
fleeing at the lowest possible speeds.
This was before television so folks
just looked into the fire and said
what they saw there for entertainment.
Lots saw Hell.
Did they have it better than us?
When a woman smoked, it was like
she was naked so that must have been fun.
Certainly they were accustomed
to death having done so much of it.
Their doctors spent all their time
figuring out what was killing you
then killing you with something else.
No need for a lawyer.
The rat was huge.
Into the breach stiff upper lip was huge.
When a doughboy missed his sweetheart,
he couldn’t just write,
I miss your muffin,
because of the censors. Apollo,
who ate the most pussy of all the ancient gods,
was out. The Holy Ghost was in.
Everyone knew where the Holy Ghost stood on cunnilingus
even though he was ineffable.
The invention of the telephone, machine gun, typewriter,
great strides in plastic surgery
before there was any plastic.
Funny thing is,
while just about everything was blown up,
nothing much changed,
so in 20 years they’d need bigger bombs.

Jacket 19 — October 2002  Contents page
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