Six Poems

by Mark Young


The line is no
longer important.

The end of the line
is / no longer

an intersection
a traffic light
a speed bump.

We can control
our breathing.

Therefore the
end of the line

the space

between lines

is no longer
punctuation or a
place to pause

but a visual thing.

for the eye.

What you’re
seeing here is
optical allusion.

is unemployed.

concentric implants

Manufactured in accordance
with, & certified under, the
Regulations of the International
Torus Association, this pseudo-
polar sampling set with an umbo
of 4 inches & two or more scribing
points at differing radii, can best
be described as a weightless exer-

cise machine, formed from pulped
polyglot comics by a research &
training group that specializes
in network-based artificial intel-
ligence capable of autonomously
flagging relevant video events.

Once / an in- / house session player

Contagion arrives as I am halfway through both a two-year contract as a publicist for an aerospace company & my making up a cheese platter.

I am taken by the three piece suit it is wearing, especially the waistcoat which is made out of a contrasting material, possibly washed silk. It swallows up both the overhead lights & those cellphones momentarily lit up as they capture the entrance, just in case it may later turn out to be important.

Nobody else notices the suit, nor what it is mounted on, even though the drape is most becoming to the wearer. It presents a conundrum: beauty is superficial, is skin deep, but the superficial doesn’t even penetrate the eye, let alone the skin.

The talk ignores what’s around it even though the eyes are elsewhere. Contagion drifts on through. I wait for it to reach out an arm, or plant a kiss on a cheek, or whisper the solution to Fermat’s last theorem in an ear, any task that touches someone. To spread. But no-one.

Then it notices me watching it & nods politely. I think I understand what it has intuited. Only this contagion was around when Marvin Gaye was King. Only this contagion realizes what’s going on. It takes a contagion to recognize another contagion, even if it is of a different genus. Indifference in this instance. Why override when the space is already overrun.

I turn away. The platter scatters. It no longer matters.

Meanwhile, back in Babylon

According to the Meso-
potamians, any half-
decent précis of Tolstoy’s
War & Peace provides

a simple recipe for
making cotton candy.
Just add sugar, & a
flavoring of your choice.

Chiaroscuro in a cursive script

Light is de-
ception, is
shape shifter,
given to giving
to things that
have substance
in the dark.


vert the
eye. So:
enters from

stump the


It’s getting difficult
to sustain the spectral
many ghosts turned
into ghosts because
I’ve over-used them.


I sit
in a chair
in a room lit
only by the
lost light
of late

A line from Johann Sebastian Bach

Swipe in from the right side
of your screen & touch the
right key & the white line
ends up reaching its further-

most limit in North Carolina.
Much like the bald cypress,
a rare endemic that is only
found on the edges of NC 191.

Mark Young lives in a small town in North Queensland in Australia, & has been publishing poetry for almost sixty years. He is the author of over forty books, primarily text poetry but also including speculative fiction, vispo, & art history. His work has been widely anthologized, & his essays & poetry translated into a number of languages. His most recent books are Ley Lines & bricolage, both from gradient books of Finland, The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago, & some more strange meteorites, from Meritage & i.e. Press, California / New York.

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