Michael T. Young









Shostakovich’s Violin Concerto No. 1 in A minor,

Opus 77 (III Passacaglia – Adante)


This river slows and trembles, a violin string

vibrating between the banks of a wartime town.

It dashes its high notes against a few rocks,

and further on, tosses an alluvial fan of sand and dirt,

artifacts and relics flung ashore,

a spindrift lifted into an orchestra of singed elms.

How it loses itself in its losses,

the evaporation of its passing, its current

throwing faint light back into the smoldering.

But nothing is forgotten, only attenuated

in the drifting dilutions of history, small drops

that wet the branches and remaining leaves.

There, in the green reticulations, the bark’s crevices,

it is a thought, it is all that’s remembered

and is enough for a hawk to feed on,

for men leaving their ruins to emerge on shore

and see it take to flight above the smoking tree line.



“Passacaglia” was first published in the online journal NYCBigCityLit.com.








In the cemetery at the end of the block

there is a stone for Musico.

And I think how this harmonizes

with other disjointed rhythms —

my glance out of tune with the daylight

so I have to look twice to clearly see the name,

my sense of vertigo when I turn back

and feel the speed of the passing cars

just off the sidewalk, and later that night,

our misunderstanding, naming the constellations,

disagreeing about the visible hemispheres.

It’s by such dissonance I know

that I am dying in my rhythms,

but living in the counterpoint:

that someone will wake up fifteen minutes late,

while I wake before the alarm goes off,

and looking out the window, watch clouds

change colors in the morning light.



“Counterpoint” was published in the journal Spillway.








The cellist next door practices at night.

His fingers summon Bach suites

in a series of movements.


These remind me of a theory

that matter is composed of strings

jittering at various speeds.


So I know the difference between wood,

plastic and metal for the same reason

I can distinguish Bach from Mozart.


Not music but motion — and no rest

in a universe that moves me to tears,

where sleepers dream, and I wake


to find my head on the keyboard,

the letter I was writing to you

trailing a scroll of P’s down the page.



“Passage” was first published in The Same.






Michael Young2











Michael Young for our webmagazine Levure littéraire:


My fourth collection, The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost, was published by Poets Wear Prada.  My chapbook, Living in the Counterpoint, received the 2014 Jean Pedrick Award from the New England Poetry Club.  I’ve received a Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the Chaffin Poetry Award.

My work has appeared in numerous journals including Edison Literary Review, The Louisville Review, Off the Coast, The Potomac Review, and The Raintown Review.  My work is also in the anthologies Phoenix Rising, Chance of a Ghost and forthcoming in Rabbit Ears: TV Poems.

I currently live with my wife and children in Jersey City, New Jersey.





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