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Summer 2008

Vacationland

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I dreamt I was somewhere else
and woke up there. Huge cables
hung above me like someone else's ideas
of guilt, they could get you somewhere
but in another season. A dog I knew
trotted by, ignoring me for other rabbits.
Astral bodies bickered and kissed in secret
corridors of the wrestling heat while I searched
for a familiar beverage among the dislocated
fruit swirls and waved at a girl on a balcony
who seemed trapped but perfectly happy,
the blast of air conditioning behind her
ready for her return to hibernation.
How extraordinary that other people
even exist! puns stenciled
across their chests, waddling
inflatables to the beach, paying
way too much for water, meaty, explodable,
joyous as weeds. It's an odd job
we have anyway, avoiding each other
and constantly meeting again,
comparing notes on sleeplessness,
a reading list of phantoms,
the gummy mutter of cell phones
way past dawn. I'm sorry
for your loss, at least I would be
given the opportunity. The same thing
happened once to me or someone like me
or will. The higher you get, the more
the details point away from the hirsute
occasion—the marmot's golden teeth,
the divorcees playing volleyball on the beach—
to a cracked sheet of rock. I'm sorry
to be such an airhead downer. Out there
somewhere is the end of everything
but only the mountains are comfortable
with the idea. The rest of us paddle,
paddle between what we can't get
away from and where we don't want to go.


—Dean Young



Dean Young recently took up the William Livingston Chair of Poetry at the University of Austin, Texas. When he is not teaching, he lives in Berkeley.
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