Mark Young: Four Poems


If I knew the
German word for
stillness, now
would be a
good time to
use it. Maybe it’s
an exact translation;
but I’d be hoping
for subtleties, not so
much the absence
of movement but
a balance to
it, a mosaic of
small things—the
birds, the traffic
on the highway,
an old interview
with Leonard Bernstein
playing out on
cable in the room
not far away.


Det sjunde inseglet

The passenger train that runs from the bottom of the state to the top goes by an hour late.

Yesterday evening, I covered the almost ripe bunch of bananas with a bag to stop the fruit from being eaten by fruit bats. Unfortunately it was a reactive act rather than being a proactive one — a few bananas had already been set upon. I cut some holes in the bottom of the bag, to allow the condensation to escape.

This morning I can smell the residual smoke from last night’s cane fires. Not so much smoke, per se, as the residue — dirty ash, cane thrash — disturbed when the harvesters move in.

The tracks left by the early morning paper delivery van can be easily seen in the dew on the lawn. I have two weekly papers delivered, one local, one national. Neither is published by the Murdoch press which essentially controls the print media in this state as well as running cable & YouTube channels whose seeming purpose is to target & arouse that international audience yearning for the return of DoNuts T.®ump, & proselytize an alt-right agenda for Australia.

I have hung out the washing, even though there is not much sun. I have picked up those mandarins that have fallen to the ground. If I was more enthusiastic about either task, I might be able to incorporate the wind into Newton’s third law.

A pelican flies across the backyard, being harrassed by a smaller bird.

There was a strawberry moon last night. An incorrect moniker for us, as Bill Clinton used to say, because we weren’t brought up on the Farmers’ Almanac & its appropriation of Native American descriptors. The moon’s just in perigee here, & there are no wild strawberries appearing. I don’t know if Ingmar Bergman would have laughed or cried.


Detected in a second regional town.

I don’t know if I can ever go back to
the low-rise jean trend now that no
part of Earth’s surface is immune from
illegal pot growing operations such
as those in the Antelope Valley, even
though it is only accessible by a six
mile causeway. Distance is obviously
no deterrent; & now victims from East
Asia & Sub-Saharan Africa have been
discovered in the waterways. Put it down
to those simplistic policies pursued
actively by governments & which are
now shown to have spatial consequences.
If you want further information, a free
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the Mini Sac Leather Tote Bag online.


a posteriori

Everyone painted so well despite
reports of protesters outside the
building. The juniors enjoyed a day
on the field, the sugar price rose, &
the rollover of a military vehicle
caused the death of two army per-
sonnel. “It’s gotten so big we now
have entries from other towns,” she
said as she adjusted the positioning
of an aspidistra. “But it’s still a small-
town fair. Still smalltown fare,” she
added, as a marching band went by.


Mark Young’s most recent books are The Toast, from Luna Bisonte Prods, & The Sasquatch Walks Among Us, from Sandy Press. Songs to Come for the Salamander, Poems 2013-2021, selected & introduced by Thomas Fink, is due out in October, co-published by Meritage Press & Sandy Press in California.



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