Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Business of Love is Cruelty, Dean Young

Don't think I can find this online, too bad because its a good one, finally got the book. I'd been looking forward to reading this from title list alone (y'all know how big I am on good titles), and wasn't disappointed. So he starts off w/ a bang:

It scares me, the genuis we have
for hurting one another, I'm seven,
as tall as my mother kneeling and
...somehow I know

exactly how to do it, calmly,
enunciating like a good actor projecting
I hate you./

He embelishes the good actor part, draws it out, not only w/ images, but hits several of our senses, of how the people who straggle in late from the cold and sleet still sparkling on collars, are extra shocked at walking into the penultimate moment. How the carrying voice nearly licks their ears over swordplay and other sounds of the play. The mother's hands rise to her face, fear flashes through him, but:

I wish I could undo it, take it back,
but its a question of perfection,/

carrying it through, climbing the steps
to my room, chosen banishment...

7 yr old N paints the hair of his Bride of Frankenstein model and then goes on a thought tangent which leads to Herr Doktor and what the infamous doctor wants after the fact, after his freakish creations are already out on the loose, a largely failed experiment w/ serious repercussions. I could not for the life of me make the connection w/ his tangent, even after repeated reads. But that's the beauty of NapoRemo, while writing up the analysis, bingo, connection made. Its summed up in this section of 2nd to last S:

his distraught monster's on the rampage
again, lead-footed, weary, a corrosive
and incommunicable need sputtering


  1. Hi Jeanne,

    Nice summary of the poem's movement, including the bingo moment.

    The last three lines you quoted are self-forgiving. A moral soft-spot for oneself. If one has hurt another, one needs forgiveness from the other. Not having read the whole poem, but following your summary, I think the "question of perfection" is perhaps the moral heart of a poem about acting out cruelty. The aesthetic requirement is there in conflict with the moral imperative.


  2. Jee, hmm, I took the question of perfection as when he's gonna put the posts to poor mommy, he's gonna do it up right. I hadn't thought of it that way, perhaps a double entendre that I didn't catch, but seems a possibility in light of you mentioning it.