Skip to content

When we look around for proof

of basic epistemological matters,

that life isn’t only seemings smattered,

a dream brought on by snaggled meat,

often the self blocks the view

of the tree or cat or car race

so all we find are me-leaves, me-meows,

me-machines of speedy impulse-me.

Maybe the point’s to see the self

as a kind of film that tints everything

bluer, more you-er and yet look through.

whatever you have to do, volunteer

at a shelter changing the abandoned

hamster’s litter, put together a coat drive

for the poor, go door to door for your candidate,

be devoted to a lover or lose yourself

cheering in a crowd, Go Hens! Go

higher, go lower, to see perhaps the sky

as a rock might, meditate until you become

a beam of light, be divided as a 3 by 27

and not get overcome by your identity ending

or expect to reappear after the decimal.

Perhaps you should be practicing not having

a self to claim, one day it’s baggage

we’re without, no longer waiting

for it to squirt out onto the conveyor belt

with all the others that look so much alike.

Yet it is sad to imagine no me around

to press his nose into your sleeping hair.

I worry death won’t care, just a bunch of dust

rushing up, some addled flashes, chills

then nil. I like too much that old idea

of heaven, everyone and pet you’ve lost

runs up which could not happen

if there’s no me there to greet.

Self, I’m stuck with you

but the notion of becoming unglued is too much

and brings tears that come, of course,

because you’re such a schmuck. Some days

you crash about raving how ignored you are

then why the hell don’t people let you alone

but I’ve seen you too perform small

nobilities, selfless generosities.

One way or the other, we’ll part I’m sure

and you’ll take me with you?

Self Search

Dean Young

More from
Poem of the Week

George McWhirter

The Jaguar

translated from the Spanish written by
Homero Aridjis
Ishion Hutchinson