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Mark Young

Four poems from Genji Monogatari

V. Young Murasaki

The notion is hege-
monic. Unnatural made
natural by a Prince’s
actions. The child
did not see it either
way. She named her
dolls after him: he gave
her more. Houses to
put them in after putting
her in his. Wrote poems
to her, drew pictures
for her to copy. What
could she say to the fan-
tastic foolybear? The view
out over the sea had
the quiet all on its own.

XVIII. The Wind in the Pines

Being arises. What
is an anthropologist
to do? Finding a duplex
in Durban for under
1500 Rand was never
going to be easy. The
wind plucks the koto pine,
wrote Basho. Xeriscaping
is big this year. Dams
halt the spawning
runs: but since the
function of the image
is to depict not
through reproduction
but through a process
of dismantling it doesn’t
matter. The scans of
military designs were
large on the page &
there were several of
them. She took out the
seven-stringed Chinese
koto which Genji had
left with her &
played a brief strain
as they loaded. An
outside accompaniment.
The pines. Calling forth
rain. Basho again.

XXXVIII. The Bell Cricket

These days I’m more
than just an itinerant
trader of the insect
which cries, announcing
my wares by reciting
Chinese poems as
dawn comes into
the sky. Now I’m in
the thick of things,
am building the first
seaside golf course
in Vietnam. I’ve seen
Kobe, seen the Mitch
Richmonds of the
league, played against
Jordan. My surfboards
are stacked along the
walls like so many
tabulae rasae. I do not
deride Derrida, but the
envenomations of the
Stone fish will turn
any kitchen into a post-
structuralist paradise.

L. The Eastern Cottage

Put a Miles Davis
compilation on the
CD player, then
settled down to read
how Médecins Sans
Frontières were hoping
to halt the persistent
poverty in Appalachia
by using a new class of
luminescent “quantum dot”
nanoparticles. The People
of Light vs the People of
Darkness—two radically
divergent self-defining
narratives yet simultaneously
lived. Perhaps a paradigm, a
path to a unified theory of
everything, whose syntax
encompasses divergent
metaphors but is incapable
of uttering a syllable that
strikes the cultivated ear
as correct. He caught a
glimpse, in the bright
moonlight, of a poem
in a shaky old hand.

Mark Young

Mark Young

Mark Young’s Pelican Dreaming: Poems 1959-2008 was published last year by Meritage Press. His most recent books are Lunch Poems (Soapbox Press), More from Series Magritte (Moria Books), & the e-chap terracotta worriers (ungovernable press).
He is the editor of the print & electronic journal Otoliths.

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