Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Whale Watch

I was rather captivated by this pretty long and very meandering poem, Whale Watch. Since I couldn't order his book quick enough (plus we have a mail strike in Canada) I've had to search online for now, and this one is actually not from the book I ordered, but couldn't resist it. Its one of his really really less than cohesive ones, he disperses it w/ random things that you just can't quite figure out why they are there. But also some extremely insightful bits of wisdom and psychology that I'm sure I'll always remember. Like:

When someone across the table has a grain of rice
affixed to his nostril, instead of shouting,
Hey, you got rice hanging off your face!
thereby perturbing the mood
as he speaks of his mother one day in the basement,
brush your nose as he watches
and hidden receptors in the brain
will cause him to brush his own nose
ergo freeing the stupid-looking-making rice.
There is so much to say and shut up about. >> * love love love *

And then it just seems to drag on too long, but as your attn. starts to lag, then bam, he throws in shocking bits about suicide. And then all that meandering and dragging makes the shocking bits just pop and shock that much more, and so it works in the end. Its a very affecting and unique style. Here is one of those sections:

You may never get
what you want and feel like you're already a ghost
and a failed ghost at that, unable to walk through walls.
There will be a purple hat. Ice cream.
You may almost ruin the wedding.
You may try to hang yourself but be saved
by a kid come home early from school
or you may be that kid who'll always remember
his mother that day in the basement,


  1. Wow that is quite a list poem, ain't it? It reminds me of Jenny Holzer's truisms.

    This is the first Dean Young poem I've ever read, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it and his progression of observations and ideas and advice. So you lead the way, Jeanne. I'll keep up.

  2. Dean Young really is very stream of consciousness, isn't he? He seems to be going in a particular direction and then, wow! he does this sharp left turn (never right) and takes you in unexpected directions. I've never read a book by him, but keep running into him here and there. Also, read a very funny poem ABOUT him by Tony Hoaglund called something like When Dean Young Does Wine Tasting.

  3. Hey, I wasn't quite as confused by that poem as I expected to be! It's got some excellent advice in it. I especially liked the dog in a sweater, the roses that had been landed in many times, and the neatly-spelled, on-time themes (which are more fun to deal with than a bloodied hand anyway).

    Laurie: "When Dean Young Talks about Wine".