Like when an irresistible force
meets an immovable object,
or when an unreadable book is made
into an unwatchable movie.
Snark can only get you
so far in this life,
but it’s far enough
that when you get there you’ll find
nothing but a gift shop
from a children’s story
that was closed years ago,
and a flimsy ferry, really
not much more than
a birch bark canoe, that makes trips
to the mainland once a week.
Except when the weather
is bad. And the weather,
like the news and the economy,
is always bad.
I like sheep, but their appearance
in a story is usually
a harbinger of something
when the story has
an alienated urban
setting, for instance,
the parking lot
of a customer service
call center. I promised
myself I wouldn’t.
I gave all my change
to the man with the scythe.
I carried a basket
of longing from town
to town, telling everyone
it was darkness, and no,
no you bastards, I won’t let you look
and see for yourselves.
Poem Beginning with a Line by C. Dale Young Poem Beginning with a Line by C. Dale Young
In Redwood City I felt absolutely nothing:
not the future’s fear of the past, not the sad prince’s
indefatigable wish to be thrust
from power and left at the mercy of those
no more merciful than he, not the longing
for solace of the man so lazy
he couldn’t be bothered to cast a shadow.
The man who slept underneath five layers
of jet lag. When he and his friend
would pretend to be generals they were so convincing
that millions died. The very word
‘singularity’ made us think there would be
just one—boy, were we wrong about that,
spectacularly wrong, wrong like canasta
in orbit, like wrong like enjoying fellatio
on Super Tuesday. When the highway police
caught up with us, there were flowers in our hair
and flour on our faces, and the trunk full of blackberry
muffins looked highly suspicious at best.
Our lawyer absconded for Sausalito
with actuarial zeal, leaving us
high and dry—well, actually, soaked and low,
for all the good that did us. I used
my one phone call to contact my credit
card company, knowing that they would put me
on hold for days, ‘til the justice system
changed hands and I could go free.
And that’s how I came to be here, stretched out
like a dog in this lawn-chair, sipping margaritas
and watching the barbers play beach volleyball
as the waves roll in and the sea gasps, over
and over, unceasingly astonished. The side
of the sky that I like is the one that faces
away from us. The lithe and beautiful
girl with her naughty blonde hair whose bikini
once frequented this sunlight-stained stretch of sand
vanished decades ago, but her tan lingers still.