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Psalm on a Theme by Dean Young and Another Theme by Allen Ginsberg

By January 1, 2013 No Comments

by Tom C. Hunley

When I die, Lord, I want to come back
as a cloud an airplane passes through
just before the crash,
lit up by blazing sunset
and just freed of a heavy, cleansing rain—
a cloud gifted with speech
enough to say Change your course, pilot.
I want to change, cloudlike,
into the sort of person who finds a wallet
and an abandoned infant and knows which to keep,
which to return, and does it. Sometimes I lose myself
in a crowd. Sometimes I find myself
in a cloud. Sometimes I want to die, Lord,
from embarrassment. An expression
like I’m falling apart and I love you to pieces,
but if I do fall apart, Lord, I do
want you to love me to pieces.
It is written in a Dean Young poem,
The mind is a tiny island you’ve washed upon.
Is that true, Lord? About me, not you, I mean.
Dean Young the poet, not Dean Young the creator
of the comic strip, Blondie, I mean.
Allen Ginsberg wrote, I’m sick of my own mind.
Give me just a little piece of yours, Lord.
I’m going to give you a piece of my mind
is an expression, but I mean it literally.
I feel like a sandwich is an expression
meaning I crave bread and cheese
with ham/lettuce/mustard if you please,
but sometimes I do feel like Dagwood has
his eyes then his hands then his drooling mouth on me
and I feel like I know how Blondie must feel.
This makes me realize I don’t want to die.
I’ve wandered forty years through the desert
of my mind, Lord. I want you to fill my mouth
with water and prayer and maybe a jagged little song.

Tom C. Hunley is an associate professor at Western Kentucky University and the author of eight books of poetry and two textbooks. His chapbook of poems, Annoyed Grunt, was published in 2012 by Imaginary Friend Press.
Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley

Tom C. Hunley has published poems in The Raintown Review, Rattle, Raven Chronicles, Red Wheelbarrow, Redactions, Relief: a Journal of Art and Faith; Reunion: The Dallas Review, Rhino, River Oak Review, River Styx, Rock & Sling, Rosebud, and Route Seven Review. He won the 2020 Rattle Chapbook Prize for Adjusting to the Lights. He directs the MFA Creative Writing program at Western Kentucky University, where he has taught since 2003.