JOSHUA YOUNG

from SLEEP AMBULANCE

what a chore
to name your creations—
did the baby names
matter in this sleep ambulance
plot here is meaningless
& who gets
to categorize
all those blinker lights
& shattering dishes
what is in the offing
maybe a ferocity
of onlookers
check-writers
pipe-smokers
& a different
kind of light
we will mention
light over & over again
& i will again
because this is a poem
i have so many skills
to unlearn
i am mostly interested
in how the door unlocks—
there is another phone
to use in the meantime
& people said the worst things
when we passed
i can see you watching
in the store window
a car blares tupac
we look toward it
let’s look in the window again
i want to remember this
the wood paneling
& someone’s glasses cracked
when the bar closes
we’d rather not wander
tell me you have a plan
tell me you know where they keep the booze
oh that crystal gauze
of drunkenness
oh that hammering
sound coming from the highway
oh that dog
barking again from the window
how can i explain
the arrangement without
sounding desperate—
it’s difficult in a crowd
we’ll keep at it till
they kick up the lights
where will we lay
ourselves & where
did last night
drag us—
when i asked to crash
on your couch
i meant
something else
when you said, yes, but i don’t
have a couch

i thought you meant
something else—
so where will
this night drag us





from SLEEP AMBULANCE


let’s talk about
how we’ll end this party
valid opinions are not
welcome at this moment
look there is nothing ok
with what happened
but it happened
& the lavender
of evening
had so many
portraits on phones
no one is bleeding
the spectacle ended
at last call
what exactly did you mean
in those tress
what will we see on the ride back
oh god the lights flare
the lights
again
who’s there
at the door

consequences
oh the consequences
the consequences echo
the echo of a large room
the echo of an open street
let’s talk
in the muted brick hallway
what is in the margin
of this conversation
that old brass section
wails on
did you break the internet
are you tired of music festivals
this has nothing to do
with my age
can we talk about what a great history
should’ve really looked like
behind our desks
our clothes smell like smoke
but we continue to—
this is rot kids
lots of issues
i got this
i got this
i got another
way of saying
we should quit this
but there is another
car blaring its horn
& hey who is calling you
now again
it’s too dark for exposure
that lantern is old as fuck
& no one uses it really
there is a fog disintegrating
i told them this is the reason
for coming home
all these commercials
are making me worry about my hair




from SLEEP AMBULANCE

the boozy guitar
from inside another bar
& there are so many boys
making claims
about
who started emo
& how dead
surrealism is
oh the trivia
of indie lit
& the way
we drop names
when the right person
listens
oh the trivia
we are capable of
when there are cigarettes
burning
or another
poet is listening
the earth spews
& we can only talk about
mcconaughey’s portrayal of grief
art matters
ok art matters
sure but the earth
man
the earth
what are we gonna do about it
bloodshed’s due
even the peaceful
will be there
oh how the rich will burn
there are films
that put forth this hope
i don’t have one
he says
i don’t know how this goes
we unlock the trailer hitch
& we barred the windows
after that last break in
the golden age of luddites
who writes a check for 9 dollars
who still has checks
the burgler stole checks
& our computers
& dvds
& guitars
& pedals
& cds
but not the records
count to 73
& move out
no more juice in the wire
anchor sales
& oh
oh
you should know—
a crash of language
at the construction site
who is it
radiating stories
the one about
bradbury
pissing on a ficus
at the national book
awards
say steve martin
is there

what is steve martin
doing
at the national book awards
the hammock empties
& every poet i know
talks punctuation
at parties
or keats
& negative capability
whenever someone stops to breathe
ask me what it means
& i might be able
to articulate its definition
let’s all chime in
the national is on the stereo—
naming is its own kind of narrative
when i die
i want poets
to name a prize after me—





Joshua Young is the author of four collections, most recently, THE HOLY GHOST PEOPLE (Plays Inverse Press 2014), and the chapbook Sedro-Woolley Days: A Damien Jurado Mixtape (Midnight City Press 2015). He is Editor-in-Chief at The Lettered Streets Press and works at the University of Chicago. He lives in the Albany Park neighborhood with two humans.