Monday, June 20, 2011


(Attempt to post a link, its about 5th down). This poem is quite different in style than most of what I've seen so far from Dean Young. Its broken into quartets, I'm not quite sure why yet? but maybe that will become clearer as I parse it up. It also tells a quite concise story as well (narrative, Laurie?) and is not anywhere near as -stream of consciousness, lets throw lofty ideas out of left field- as his others. But true to Young, its more deep and insightful shite. So it starts out, pure story, actually totally true to the title and he utilizes more conventional poetic devices to great effect. The title is a clever triple entendre, which has to do w/ the waiting at the aiport to take off; having 8 beers, turbulent in itself; but mainly its highly metaphoric. The metaphor part has to do w/ all the bad news coming at him via the news, and another man also caught in layover, who gets N thinking some deep and turbulent thoughts.

There is also a strong central conceit centered around the act of drinking w/ continued related language dispersed throughout. He starts w/ a wopping metaphor of "sipping time itself":

Pittsburgh airport, early winter, my plane
socked in and the first two beers, 2.50 per,
I try to drink slow. The receipts tag the clock
precisely: 7:54, 8:18 so I could be sipping

time itself, lapping all the numbing events
puddled in the news like a shade of Hell

His also trapped in layover, drinking buddy shows him a girlie in a flesh mag, and claims its his daughter. But the look on the man's face says it isn't. N is tempted to confront him, set him free of his bs, but then lays some of his own bs out, claiming to go from funeral to funeral. The last few stanzas neatly complete his drinking/hell theme and end on some pensive moralizing.

...But it was snowing

too hard to be Hell and the music told us
we'd better not cry and I just swallowed,
didn't say much more, just fluttered his magazine,
recognized no one, read the columns about

people having sex in grocery stores, tollbooths,
airplane washrooms, places you'd think utterly
incommodious, hostile to whatever it is
we work so hard to give and take from and to each other.

For me anyway, this isn't high-handed moralizing, the kind that can make me bristle, and I found I agreed w/ his conclusion. Sure we sow our oats in youth, but in the end, when you really want to find something/someone special, well I concur w/ the incommodiousness factor. This one didn't capture me right away, like some of his others, but I did come to quite enjoy it as it was different from his usual.


  1. I'm very happy that Dean Young is still making sense to me; I was very worried about that when you announced what you'd be reading. This one conveyed an overwhelming feeling of grimy anonymity to me, both from the airport and from the magazine.

    I'm not sure about the strophe breaks either. I might do something like that just to give the reader a visual break and introduce some kind of soothing regularity, but Young might be too deep to reason like that. He does take the opportunity to introduce some a couple of spectacular line breaks at the ends of strophes. (I'm thinking mostly of the breaks at "down-" and "froth".)

  2. Aha, and therein lies the reason for the strophe breaks. You just said it, "spectacular line breaks at the end of strophes".

    I noticed he was using more conventional poetic devices here and parsing into regular strophes allows for arftul use of enjambment. Bingo! My fave enjambments are: I could be sipping// time itself,


    ...But it was snowing// too hard to be Hell and the music told us/ we'd better not cry and I just swallowed,/

  3. sipping time was great and so was we'd better not cry and I just swallowed. Otherwise, I'm afraid I wasn't as wowed by this one, don't know why. Maybe if I read the whole thing, perhaps. Or maybe because it just seemed less like Young?

  4. I think I posted a successful link to a set of his poems, 8 Beer, is one. Hah, happy dance for me if I did it. And I'm w/ you Laurie, I'm down w/ the Dean, but liked and not loved this one too.