ISSN 1556-4975

OffCourse Literary Journal

 Published by Ricardo and Isabel Nirenberg since 1998


Poems by Mark Young

The early Clint Eastwood

What the hell am I doing
here? Should have signed
up for another television
season. But no, I had to go
& listen to Sketches of Spain
& thought Iberia might be
an exciting place to make

a movie in. Then again it
could have been the way
that Sergio & that composer
with the fag-sounding name
wined & dined me before I
signed the deal. I mean,
imagine it. There I am in

this fancy Italian restaurant,
eating all these dishes
named after painters I'd
never ever heard of,
washing them down with
a not-so-delicate green
of a nouvelle vague mintage

& being pitched the concept
of a western whose script
was ripped from some
Japanese samurai movie.
Not only that — the hero
has no name & very little
to say, smokes cigarillos,

wears a hat that looks like
it was stolen from a Quaker
& has this thing around
his shoulders that they call
a serape but seems more like
a throw-down hall rug to me.
No mention of the sand, the

standing around like melting
mannequins in the heat, the
fact that nobody but me speaks
English. I can't wait for the
shooting to be over. No way
I'm coming back. This was
never a good career move.


geographies: Bloomington

Even though it's in
its name, only Indiana
amongst the states
doesn't have some
type of embedded
DNA. Instead, it uses
a sparse Bayesian

regression method
which, in subsequent
iterations, creates
a silhouette, a gray-
level image made up
of motion pixels from the
final scene of Wozzeck.


Today the

postman brought
me a poem
from William
Carlos Williams.

Special delivery.
No letter, no
card. The
spoken word.

Stopped his bike
at the top
of the steps &
started to recite

in a voice
equally suited
to delivering
babies or poems.

"A big young bareheaded woman
in an apron…."

I was im-
Waited un-
til he had

finished &
gave him the
flight of small
cheeping birds

that were
in the ice
box & which
you were

for my
old age.

Forgive me.

Author Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over forty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent book is les échiquiers effrontés, a collection of surrealist visual poems laid out on chessboard grids, just published by Luna Bisonte Prods. Due out later this year is The Word Factory: a miscellany, from gradient books of Finland, & an e-book, A Vicarious Life — the backing tracks, from otata.

Return to Offcourse Index.