Three by Gideon Young

i dream about going mad

i dream about going mad:
tornado arms, flooding halls
with screech and drool,

soleslaps on pallored tiles,
when i sit at this computer,
plastic desk masked as maple,
little papers, more plastic
multicolored small baubles,
obsessively placed, packed
in tiny see-through drawers,

inboxes pixelated and in piles,
potted prisoners, family photos
arranged to calm the eyes
when cast down in exhaustion,

hiding from the bent napes
to the right, in the corner,
that tap ergonomic alphabets,
sweat over obscurity,

when i sit here,
think of our construction;
spine, spit, and skin—
an organism with layers
complex as earth,

how breath buzzes into words
learned, cadenced
pleas to doctors, children,
dying childhood dogs, devil,

brain’s ability to hold concrete
airport parking garages, résumés,
splinters, metaphors, recycling,
doubt, crown-crimes,
salt-breeze, believers,

mind’s continuous juggle
of dozenhundred ideas
of holistic healings
for our overwhelmed world,

or how we know
we’re three dimensions
when we rarely feel solid,
but are usually contained,

how we glitter and tingle
with human power
to proffer simple creations,
unite others, and
phone’s shrill purr…

i sit here,
dream about going mad.

2nd grader

i had a dream last night
kids were battling
they all had guns
that’s why i didn’t say anything before

yes i knew some of them
some were from my class
the older kids were different

i don’t know if it was a bad dream or an interesting dream
i don’t even know what kind of dream it was

yes i remember
the dream is filling me

born each day
             for boston, syria, everywhere

i awake, usually, when i am half-finished,
savvy my origin in a long, deep sniff:
dust, coffee, lung-stiffening cold
in cavernous rooms of dark echoes,
recycled dry that smells of cords,
lights, meticulous computers,
all heated above the comfort of skin.

i am always surprised
by the innovative constructions
of my body: blinding sheen,
marvelous elegance in my elongation,
or boxed, bagged, with nude wiring.
i awake crammed in socks, shoes,
taped to dark brown bottles
burgeoning with clear acid.

i listen to those who create me.
their voices in all languages,
always with questions, wishes,
whispers and tumult.
i garner sense of:
where i will culminate,
what flames i will stoke,
on which channels i will hum,
whose homes i will terrify,
what shelters i shall steal,
how i will convince citizens
to murder neighbors,
when i shall be what you
let me become.

i am glorious in my fire.

Gideon Young is a native of Connecticut. A member of the Carolina African-American Writers’ Collective and the Haiku Society of America, his poetry has appeared in Backbone Press, Obsidian: Literature in the African Diaspora, Spillway, The Long River Review, and Black Gold: An Anthology of Black Poetry. Gideon earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor’s in Literature from the University of Connecticut. He currently works as a Title 1 Elementary Reading Teacher in Efland, North Carolina. Visit him online at

image by the author

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