Sunday, February 10, 2013

How To Glow: a poem by Dean Young


How to Glow by Dean Young.

A chaotic poem at first reading, but it does have a rhythm and vibrant sense of starting off with one proposition and concluding with an end , a result, that one did not expect. "And end" is just the word, as in death, because each of the concrete things that poet Dean Young mentions seem find a connection with death ; all things lead to demise here, peaceful, painful, glorious, infamous, mundane.  Dean's attack is  a credible simulation of someone under anesthetic narrating the stream of images and attending conversations of his life, a slurred and surreal accounting of various transactions with doctors, families, friends, bright ideas and bad faith all, with a mind that discerns where all agendas wind up.

 That which we busy ourselves with in order to adhere to an existentialist principle that our lives have meaning drawn from only the decisions we make and our commitment to live by the results of our projects has , as well, a parallel function, to distract us from obsessing from that which we know is inevitable. Young, who I understand was once in need of a heart transplant and was fortunate enough to receive one, is fatalistic in this poem, but not without being playful as he inspects the dead ends of the propositions and ideas that are initially championed. One might despair and declare that the poem means to tell us that what we do and dream and build is all for naught because each endeavor results in a metaphorical dustbin ; I sense something else, hinted at in the title; if you want to glow, to seem holy and spiritual, shine at what you do, aspire and achieve. Go forth and do good works.Appreciate the abyss, step away from it and return to the business of being alive, in this moment.

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