Monday, January 24, 2011

The Morning Reading: "sometimes the darkness moves through you"

Over at coldfront, John Deming reports on the January 20th benefit reading for poet Dean Young.


Dean Young’s heart has an eight percent ejection rate, the poet Mary Karr told an audience at the National Arts Club last night.

“Imagine that your heart is pumping out one teaspoon of blood when it is supposed to be pumping out two tablespoons,” she explained.

Karr, along with Joe Di Prisco, Matthea Harvey, Edward Hirsch, Matthew Rohrer, Gerald Stern and Dara Wier, read at the benefit for Young, who needs a heart transplant. Each poet read favorite poems by Young (set lists below) and expressed their love and respect for the poet and his work.

Stern called Young the writer of great mournful elegies, but also “a man so kind and so tender it makes you weep.”

Karr concurred.

“It is not acceptable to live on a planet where there is no Dean Young,” she said.

Joe Di Prisco, Young’s friend and coordinator of the fund, reached Young on speaker phone at the start of the event, and held the phone up to the microphone. Young expressed gratitude, and jokingly told the audience, “have a good time, for god’s sake.”

Di Prisco explained that Young’s treatment costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. More than 800 donations have already totaled more than $116,000, he said, but there is still a ways to go.

To read the rest(which includes a "set" list), click here.


To make an online donation, please visit Dean Young's page at the National Foundation for Transplants.


On of the poems read by Mary Karr was "Bright Window."

Here it is:

Bright Window
by Dean Young

I was born through a bright window.
Winged faces, docile lions, the usual
heliocentric wires. The gods loved playing
tricks then, festooned with rags,
making the wine dregs pour forever,
switching the reels so midway through
Children of Paradise, Wile E. Coyote
creams himself again. Meep, meep,

everyone in a hurry in clouds of ink
like frightened squid. I had a friend
who spun in the rain until her makeup
melted and a scar remains on my retina.
I had a friend who thought the secret
was in turning a turntable backwards.
One pill made you stronger, one pill
and you could fly. I had a friend
who crashed us through a cornfield
and all the husks could do was sing
but that was all right, it was singing
that mattered to us, had weight,
occcupied space, in motion tended
to stay in motion, at rest rest.

You start with a darkness to move through
but sometimes the darkness moves through you.

I loved those cold May mornings
stalling the wisteria,
none of the oils yet, just sketch,
the million buds of I don’t know what
waiting by the stairway where no one’s crying
yet, or laughing, not one leap yet in the dance,
it’s almost impossible to be afraid,
the furnace kicking on one last time,
the animal dragging itself a short way
from its birth.

Sometimes I sit for hours watching people
struggle with the big glass doors,
trying to fit small lids on large cups.

You can’t have it back, says the fire
affectionately. You never needed it
anyway, promises the earth.


1 comment:

John Terry said...
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