February 4, 2020

Michael T. Young

THE RISK OF LISTENING TO BRAHMS

I like action movies for the same reason
I like Brahms, or undiluted scotch,
the constant flux of the sea,
or the sun’s light and heat stripped down
to raw fire, to the burning sine qua non,
like the first time I fired a gun and felt
deliriously naked and in that denuded moment,
remembered what I was chasing after when
as a teenager, without telling anyone,
I hopped on a bus for Philadelphia
and checked into the first hotel,
struggling to dodge those who knew me
to find if I wasn’t something more
than they expected, or could become
something other than they could know,
thrilled by the risk and uncertainty, the same
as when I hiked a mountain without water
on a humid summer afternoon,
trudging deeper into heat exhaustion,
the nausea stopping me every twenty feet
to gather strength from the pleasure
of wondering if I would make it home.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009

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Michael T. Young: “Writing poetry is the slow process of thinking clearly, of connecting seemingly disparate elements in the progress toward meaning. This poem, ‘The Risk of Listening to Brahms,’ was born of trying to understand the connection I felt between my pleasure in listening to Brahms and my enjoyment of action movies. Every day is filled with vertiginous moments about to break into such odd but true realizations; taking time to realize those insights and articulate them in a poem is not only a pleasure but a necessity.” (web)

 

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