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Mark Young is a New Zealander now living in Sydney, Australia. An AnotherSun favourite, recent poetry has also appeared in Big Bridge, Niederngasse, sidereality, Sendecki.com among other places, & is forthcoming in Moria, Snow Monkey and the Spring edition of the muse apprentice guild.

An earlier version of The Unicorn appeared in his 1999 collection The right foot of the giant.

Links to his online work can be found at the New Zealand electronic poetry
Self analysis

Neatly, ever so neatly, I have
taken the top off my skull. Spread
mesh across the opening
to create co-ordinates & am now
gently excavating the contents
& sifting them to see what
appears. I am pleased to report
that I have found no fossils
though there is a midden where
previous inhabitants have apparently
come down to the waterside
to eat the shellfish they found there.

Already the diggings cover half
the backyard. I have raised up
some rows in which to plant
potatoes, will train runner beans
to follow the neural pathways that are
drying in the sun. & I have in mind
if I had a mind to have it in
an exquisite bonsai maple which will
sit perfectly in the brain cavity.


Mnemonic

If I were truly a surrealist
I would let this unbidden phrase
coagulate like a glottal stop
survive on its own & not question
how it came.  Let it lie where it
fell, add another phrase & then
another to it.  Building up a set
of sequential lines that, as a
construct, might be meaning
full or beauty full or any one
of several other fulls, all
of which I would suffer gladly.

If I were truly a surrealist I would
lay down its antecedents as a
random series of found moments
made synchronous by being
annotated at this moment where I
find myself.  I would deny that it is
the I that binds them all together, that
there is an epicentre, one instant
of composite activity that restores
the threads that tie the others in to it.

If I were truly a surrealist I would
name the poem for its geographical
points & leave out all reference
as to why these were important.  Or
write the poem so:          
                    Leipzig                    
                    Auckland
                    Vancouver           
                    Sydney
                                   with repetitions
to acknowledge linear time, then use
the phrase to close.  Instead I puzzle
over its anatomical correctness.

If I were truly a surrealist I would
take crayon or paintbrush or aerosol
can &, in one continuous stroke, like
an Oriental calligrapher who has
spent all their life preparing for this
moment, write the phrase on the
wall of an otherwise unadorned
public building, for others to interpret.

If I were truly a surrealist I would have                              
worked the phrase away immediately.



Your future lies with the letter d

Take what is given.  No, not in that
sense, not as a gift, but rather the
set of given assumptions that you
proceed from, the paradigm. It is
the comfort zone.  It is driving the same
way to work each day, taking the dog
for the same walk each night.  It is Friday
evening Thai takeaway.  It is.

Or.  Start by taking what others take as
given.  If the thought of an abrupt transition
causes you discomfort then slide into it
by making minor modifications to your
existing behaviour - buy Japanese food
on Friday, ride the bus to work.  Small
steps will make it easier to usurp the ways
of others when the time seems right.

Appropriate.  Appropriated.  You choose.



Piaf

took
all those
things
in her life

she
regretted
doing
not doing

laid them
end to end
not quite
touching

to form
a perforation
she could
tear along

& so sing
with clear
conscience
je regrette rien.



The unicorn

I wait, wondering if your car
will come.  There is this tension
about me, the taste of metal
in the throat.  Outside, in the
bright night air, the planes
coming in to land have the sound
of bombers.  Each with its
load of passengers, many of
whom, on some alternative
tourist trail, will soon come knocking
at my door, looking to see how
the other half lives.  I will show
them through the house, past
peacocks & persian cats, &
artifacts of long forgotten tribes.
Then I will open the door of the
secret room, from out of which
comes flowers & fireworks,
hiding the rancid sweatsmell of
the unicorn that lives there.  Its
hooves strike sparks that burn
the eyes.  It is growing hungry.  I
will have to feed it soon.  I wait,
wondering if your car will come.

(c) Mark Young 2003

Mark Young is a New Zealander now living in Sydney, Australia. An AnotherSun favourite, recent poetry has also appeared in Big Bridge, Niederngasse, sidereality, Sendecki.com among other places, & is forthcoming in Moria, Snow Monkey and the Spring edition of the muse apprentice guild.

An earlier version of The Unicorn appeared in his 1999 collection The right foot of the giant.

Links to his online work can be found at the New Zealand electronic poetry