More from Dean Young-

To say I wish I paid more attention to this writer earlier is an understatement.

Here’s a poem from Dean Young + my favorite part from The Art of Recklessness


Handy Guide
By Dean Young

Avoid adjectives of scale.
Dandelion broth instead of duck soup.
Don’t even think you’ve seen a meadow, ever.
The minor adjustments in our equations
still indicate the universe is insane,
when it laughs a silk dress comes out its mouth
but we never put it on. Put it on.
Cry often and while asleep.
If it’s raw, forge it in fire.
That’s not a mountain, that’s crumble.
If it’s fire, swallow.
The heart of a scarecrow isn’t geometrical.
That’s not a diamond, it’s salt.
That’s not the sky but it’s not your fault.
My dragon may be your neurotoxin.
Your electrocardiogram may be my fortune cookie.
Once an angel has made an annunciation,
it’s impossible to tell him he has the wrong address.
Moonlight has its own befuddlements.
The rest of us can wear the wolf mask if we want
or look like reflections wandered off.
Eventually armor, eventually sunk.
You wanted love and expected what?
A parachute? Morphine? A gold sticker star?
The moment you were born—
you have to trust others because you weren’t there.
Ditto death.
The strongest gift I was ever given
was made of twigs.
It didn’t matter which way it broke.

Perhaps Orpheus turned around SO he could see Eurydice vanish, so that his desire would be endless and endless source to song.



Been filled with thoughts of your-shit-is-crap (redundant, booyah!) lately. I’m thinking it’s another attack of The Infinite Sadnesses or it’s because of my recent Infinite Sniffles (context: I’m normally a-okay with getting sick and I get by pretty well – had dengue thrice, add so-and-so diseases – but when it comes to the common cold I’m pretty defenseless, clogged nose every morning and epic bitchiness). Normally I spend my sembreak being productive. Normally. This has to be one of my most unproductive sembreaks ever. All I do is sleep and watch series and go out. Artworks produced are shameful to look at; writings made are crap (or half-finished). I’ve been trying to mask my sense of uselessness by doing house chores (fixing shelves, installing the new printer, etc). I guess my personal demon’s on a rampage the past few days, sucking me in this loop of negativity that never seems to ease away unless I sleep it off. Ergh. So. Anyway. Gloom and doom aside, I managed to get my photocopy of Dean Young’s The Art of Recklessness ringbound today (just a few minutes ago, actually! I walked a few blocks of Cubao to get to their Xerox central) and I whipped out my nicest highlighter and started reading it (a YEAR late, gah). The man makes a lot of sense.

Here’s a snippet from the first page:

Sometimes, when we feel disappointed with a poem, with our effort, we feel that the poem fails us, because it seems to fall short of our intentions. But those intentions are often vague and speculative, and any attempted actualization of those ideas can’t help but be anemic. Let us forgive ourselves for writing poems that aren’t better than every other poem that’s ever been written.

The Business of Love is Cruelty | Dean Young

Kael, one of the panelists for the workshop I recently went to, and also my very amusing busmate for both 8-hour trips, recommended this guy. He’s interesting so far.


The Business of Love is Cruelty
Dean Young

It scares me the genius we have
for hurting one another. I’m seven,
as tall as my mother kneeling and
she’s kneeling and somehow I know

exactly how to do it, calmly,
enunciating like a good actor projecting
to the last row, shocking the ones
who’ve come in late, cowering

out of their coats, sleet still sparkling
on their collars, the voice nearly licking
their ears above the swordplay and laments:
I hate you.

Now her hands are rising to her face.
Now the fear done flashing through me,
I wish I could undo it, take it back,
but it’s a question of perfection,

carrying it through, climbing the steps
to my room, chosen banishment, where
I’ll paint the hair of my model
Bride of Frankenstein purple and pink,

heap of rancor, vivacious hair
that will not die. She’s rejected
of course her intended, cathected
the desires of six or seven bodies

onto the wimp Doctor. And Herr Doktor,
what does he want among the burning villages
of his proven theories? Well, he wants
to be a student again, free, drunk,

making the cricket jump, but
his distraught monster’s on the rampage
again, lead-footed, weary, a corrosive
and incommunicable need sputtering

his chest, throwing oil like a fouled-up
motor: how many times do you have to die
before you’re really dead?