from “Pet Sounds”

Stephanie Young

after the Warriors won last nightwe were talking about sports riots generallyyou think it's a bad reason to burn a cop car.I said there's no bad reason to burn a cop caryou said oh come on. it was late.the end of a long day. you had workthen rehearsal. I had bargainingthen plans I couldn't cancel but didwhen the cramps came onI lay on the couch and listened to fireworkswaited for you to come homewatch the game fast forwardthrough commercials. we already knewhow it turned out, how it was going to.those are the breaks: the way things happen.shit. fate. when everything drops outbut the drums. Steph Curry off the dribble.Steph Curry off the catch. Iguodalaalong the perimeter. Iguodala everywhere.sometimes you catch a break, a stroke of lucksometimes you wear them downI didn't watch basketball much before thisI've never actually burned a cop caryou've got me there. I know people havethey will. the breaks are about inevitabilitythe way things are is the way it goeswhat constitutes a break, what makes a break for itlife is short. and life is long. how a thing may containthe opposite direction of wherever it's headeda lion that will fly. With his face backwardmy favorite line from Troilus and CressidaI think it is about time

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Stephanie Young lives and works in Oakland. Her books of poetry and prose include It’s No Good Everything’s Bad, Ursula or University, Picture Palace, and Telling the Future Off. She edited the anthology Bay Poetics, and with Juliana Spahr, A Megaphone: Some Enactments, Some Numbers, and Some Essays about the Continued Usefulness of Crotchless-pants-and-a-machine-gun Feminism. Young is a member of the Krupskaya Books editorial collective.

"Pet Sounds is a long love poem written in and out of the collective of us. It truly has a surfing kind of energy, doesn’t get bunched up for long, even pleasantly gets a little specific and gross, but bobs again. Invariably she deals sharp and close because Stephanie’s seriously interested in a total ride through relationship and humanity, song, family and what else."
—Eileen Myles

"Stephanie’s work is wonderful, a kind of loping swirl full of pop references, half of which I don’t understand. But that doesn’t matter because the knit is strong material yet loose, leaving lots of space, through which a sense of reality floats and stays with me. In an age of con and artifice, I want this."
—Judy Grahn

“Stephanie Young’s writing finds company with a small handful of poets practicing a form of institutional critique (of poetic institutions, as well as philanthropy, and university politics in her case). Her body is often the site of her critiques.”
—Noel Black, Hyperallergic

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