ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Mark Young

Pièce de pestilence

Locusts kick the front
door in just after
I've got into bed. I
jump back up, wrap
myself in a fresh
kimono, hose the snow
drifts out from under
my eyes & tongue. The
cat offers me a gun
but in deference to
the neighbors I decline.
That, & the fact I prefer
hand to hand combat
this close up. Or hand
to wing chung, perhaps.
Learn from the gladiators—
carving knife in the right,
in the left an aerosol can
of cooking oil. Learn from
the great chefs—a little
early preparation saves
a lot of later time. Soon
over. Soon on the stove.
Sautéed in a little butter.
The cat offers me oyster
sauce. I decline. I've
always been a chilli man.



A line from Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

Latency issues have been
around forever. My mic
tends to lag behind my web-
cam, & several versions of

the Mesopotamian myth
of the great flood which
antedate the ninth century
still haven’t been identified.

Analysis has never been a
perfect science. A clever man
would never make the assumption
that one hierarchical viewpoint

is right for all occasions—though
a second full-length collection
of poetry is often an archive of
the old site under a new name.



Re-reading Ashbery #2

I lie in bed reading
Ashbery. I wonder if
in this position he will
appeal to me more
than he usually does. I
have tried reading
him standing up &
sitting down; but, though

in an abstract way
I admire his way
with words, he is not
someone that sings
to me. I drift. Quick!
Another pillow behind
the back to improve
the blood flow. I drop

a $2 coin in the slot-
machine & manipulate
the levers, manage to
draw up a small block
of milk chocolate from
out of the fluffy bears
& Tonka toys. The tea
I drank is keeping

me awake. Ashbery is
putting me to sleep.
The owl in the back
corner of the garden
starts to hoot. I offer
her the book. Can
you hear, bird, what
does not speak to me?



I drive too slowly

Yesterday no longer
what I am
today. The scenes
painted on the fan's
blades move far
too fast for separate
observation. It did not
rain all night; &, again,
this morning. The
plumber rang long-
distance to say the aviary
was overgrown with
watermelon. I diverted
the call to someone
who needed it.


Mark Young's most recent books are Bandicoot habitat and lithic typology, both from Gradient Books of Finland. An e-book, For the Witches of Romania, is due out from Beard of Bees.

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