Michael T. Young

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The Risk of Listening to Brahms by Michael T. Young

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.

First appeared in Rattle #31 (Summer 2009. Reprinted with permission by the author.

Michael T. Young’s third full-length collection, The Infinite Doctrine of Water, was longlisted for the Julie Suk Award. His previous collections are The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost and Transcriptions of Daylight. He received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award for his collection Living in the Counterpoint. His poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in numerous journals including The Los Angeles ReviewOne, The Smart Set, Quiddity, and Rattle. His poetry has also been featured on Verse Daily and The Writer’s Almanac.