The Bride luxuriates in her Lucullan locker room after narrowly avoiding elimination from the ‘Sweet 16’

James Tate’s celebrated “Distance From Loved Ones” was seeded no. 3 in the West Bracket, and was 40-1 odds to go all the way in the 2010 Best American Poetry March Madness Tourney.

Dean Young’s “The Business of Love Is Cruelty,” with its Bride of Frankenstein trope, was given odds of 800-1 before the tournament began, and was the 14th seed in the West.

Dean Young’s upset of James Tate in the March Madness has shaken the poetry world.   Tate won a Yale Younger Prize while a student at Iowa when Dean Young was a mere 12 years old.

Sometimes it’s all about the Muse.

Lewis Buzbee’s “Sunday, Tarzan in Hammock,” also 800-1 to win it all, takes on Dean Young in the next round.  The winner makes it to the Elite 8.

This is Marla Muse reporting from the Kennedy Center.


  1. Bob Tonucci said,

    March 19, 2010 at 5:28 pm

    Dean “Forever” Young vs. Lewis “The Buzz” Buzbee.

    Let the games begin.

  2. Robert Tonucci said,

    March 21, 2010 at 10:03 am

    Marla Muse here down on the floor. Before the match, let’s take a look at what put our contenders into the Sweet Sixteen.


    Sunday, Tarzan in His Hammock

    Lewis Buzbee

    When the king of the jungle first wakes up, he thinks
    it’s going to be a great day, as laden with possibility
    as the banana tree with banana hands, but by ten
    he’s still in the hammock, arms and legs dull as
    termite mounds. He stares at the thatched roof and realizes
    that his early good mood was a leftover from Saturday,
    when he got so much done: a great day, he saved
    the tiger cub trapped in the banyan, herded the hippos
    away from the tourists and their cameras and guns,
    restrung and greased the N-NW vines, and all by noon.
    All day he went about his duties, not so much kingly duties
    as custodial, and last night, he and Cheetah went for a walk under the
    ostrich-egg moon. This morning nothing stirs him.
    The world is a stagnant river, a scummy creek’s dammed pool.
    Cheetah’s gone chattering off, Jane is in town,
    and the rest of the animals are busy with one another –
    fighting, eating, mating. Tarzan can barely move,
    he does not want to move. Does the gazelle ever feel this
    lassitude, does it ever want to lie down and just stare,
    no longer caring for its own safety, tired of the vigilance?
    Does the lion, fat in the grass, ever think, fuck it,
    let the wounded springbok live, who cares?
    Tarzan thinks maybe he’ll go to the bathing pools
    and watch the village girls bathe, splashing in the sun,
    their breasts and thighs perfect. He wishes someone
    would bring him a gourd of palm-wine, a platter
    of imported fruits – kiwi, jack fruit, star fruit –
    or maybe a bowl of roasted yams slathered in goat butter,
    maybe Jane will bring him a book. Nothing will be delivered.
    He hears far off in the dense canopy a zebra’s cry for help,
    those damned jackals again, but, no, he will not move.
    Let the world take care of itself, let the world eat
    the world. He can live without the call of the wild.
    He thinks.


    The Business of Love is Cruelty

    Dean Young

    It scares me the genius we have
    for hurting one another. I’m seven,
    as tall as my mother kneeling and
    she’s kneeling and somehow I know

    exactly how to do it, calmly,
    enunciating like a good actor projecting
    to the last row, shocking the ones
    who’ve come in late, cowering

    out of their coats, sleet still sparkling
    on their collars, the voice nearly licking
    their ears above the swordplay and laments:
    I hate you.

    Now her hands are rising to her face.
    Now the fear done flashing through me,
    I wish I could undo it, take it back,
    but it’s a question of perfection,

    carrying it through, climbing the steps
    to my room, chosen banishment, where
    I’ll paint the hair of my model
    Bride of Frankenstein purple and pink,

    heap of rancor, vivacious hair
    that will not die. She’s rejected
    of course her intended, cathected
    the desires of six or seven bodies

    onto the wimp Doctor. And Herr Doktor,
    what does he want among the burning villages
    of his proven theories? Well, he wants
    to be a student again, free, drunk,

    making the cricket jump, but
    his distraught monster’s on the rampage
    again, lead-footed, weary, a corrosive
    and incommunicable need sputtering

    his chest, throwing oil like a fouled-up
    motor: how many times do you have to die
    before you’re really dead?

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