Dean Young

Chest Pains of the Romantic Poets

If the spirit is to entangle the commonplace
in the congeries of the impossible,
I missed my chance with the tall Dutch girls.
I wasn't 23, wasn't in the Amsterdam where I
couldn't muster a sensible consonant cluster
through a cytoplasmic hash-cloud when they didn't
materialize like frost, like details illuminated
by overwrought monks. I couldn't walk but I could
dance, and they weren't shining discs when they didn't
take me home and kick off their acid-washed jeans
and their breasts weren't lamps on the decks of fogged-in
ships, their thighs weren't scrawled with a silver
script I would kneel to read, their sex wasn't
delicate voracious sea-life and their eyes—
I can't say a thing about their eyes.
Outside, even the shadows froze but I didn't
stay a week watching their six-inch TV
when they went off and did I don't know what,
not eating whatever they have me, chocolate, beer,
something that once was fish, almost losing
five pounds. I can't remember how one wrinkled
her nose when she swallowed, the way the other
sighed, my friends not wondering if I was alive
until one afternoon, I didn't leave,
never seeing them again.

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