Mine, by Andy Young

 

Poems

 

5.5x8.5 inches, saddle stitched, 24 pages. Available in print only.

 

Out of Print. Please email for info.

 

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Excerpts from Mine

 

Sound (.mp3) files of Andy reading "Bones" (2 mb) and "Inferno" (680 k).

Sound production by Pete Lazenby.

 


 

 

Before These Kindred Stones

 

 

stood here and the names
MILES SID this was a hill
just a hill nothing on it
but the wind going shhhhhhh
and two consanguine men:
jaw-set, ornery, strapped tight
to a tough life and the up-
hill, willful stride of the young.

No way to know what happened.
You’d never get a straight answer
even if you got a word in edgewise.
And each told it different.
One said the other started it,
got what he deserved.
The other that a man
can only take so much.
All that’s known is next thing,
they’re on the way down:

punch roll spine to stone
stick tossed bone moss mess,
a tumbled flesh, a tangled limb
the scuffle rolls, rolls, rolls,
no longer a biplicity,
it is one body now,
the sky a darksome bruise.


Hands squeeze jugular
in this moment they feel closest,
common in their one desire
to see the same blood red
of other, brother to brother.
Blood floods lids, murderous
vermilion, blood rivers arms
swollen fat with effort, blood
in the ears: a pounding like
the pounding they give
one another as they fight
their way down the hill
where they will be buried.


Miles

 

 

My grandfather’s mouth: a closed gap,
narrow and crooked as a pencil sketch.

Five lines ripple the forehead, disappear
at the temples, a stone skipped on a lake.

Thin dusting of hair, whiter
than the whites of his tired eyes.

Eyes too cold to jump in,
swimming holes in March.

Right thumb sticks out, tries to escape
the frame, the bleached collar.

The windows in the house behind him
sag, little broken faces.

*

He has lived behind glass
longer than I’ve been alive. No one
talks about him, as if he is still in the room.

I only know small scraps of him,
like bits of blue between clouds,
just enough to patch a pair of pants.

His black lungs
gasped for air at night,
birds flying into closed windows.

My father wears his forehead. He says
Miles was called “boy”
until, at five, he named himself.


Was he looking at a sign?
Did he know he’d travel years
into this pressed page?

*
He rode under trains
when he was young,
though no one says where,
or why he stopped.

When he married grandma,
they were too poor for a house.
So they lived in a tent for months
along the banks of Muddlety River.

They had five girls, one boy.
He moved them twenty-seven times,
disappearing into a new whiskey bottle
or a new mine.

*

A canary beats her wings
against his black rib cage.
She has tried to fly through his eyes,
travel the cold distance.
She would fold her wings
if I held her soft body
in the cup of my hands.
When I listen close
I hear her still singing —


Bones

 

 

Smooth-boned, I am supported
by the sturdy agreement
of hip and thigh:
stiffened by structure
       sacrum, coccyx
I am hollowed:
the scooped-out place
inside my skull,
little caverns inside my bones —

bones, bones
that solid architecture
they ache, they creak,
they groan like houses
they bow toward ground

relics left by other eras
remote as the Renaissance,
       the age of reason.

What do we know of
struts of marrow
still trapped in warm flesh:
fiddle-bow of clavicle,
       riddle of hip —
ilium, ischium, pubis?

What do we know of bones
we will one day become,
       bones
given to earth
the way coins are dropped
in collection baskets?


Bones that will jut from ground
in heavy rain,
now chalk-drawn in redness,
hinged sketching of our framework.

Bones like the hip
a man once slipped
in a healing pool in Ecuador.
It came out round,
complete as an incense tip:
smooth-boned, like the skull
I once shoved
in a place too small for it,
to see if the bone was solid.

 

 

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