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Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young

Updated: Feb 25, 2023

Ode to the Midwest

by Kevin Young

published in Poetry, July/August 2007


The country I come from Is called the Midwest —Bob Dylan


I want to be doused

in cheese


& fried. I want

to wander


the aisles, my heart's

supermarket stocked high


as cholesterol. I want to die

wearing a sweatsuit—


I want to live

forever in a Christmas sweater,


a teddy bear nursing

off the front. I want to write


a check in the express lane.

I want to scrape


my driveway clean


myself, early, before

anyone's awake—


that'll put em to shame—

I want to see what the sun


sees before it tells

the snow to go. I want to be


the only black person I know.


I want to throw

out my back & not


complain about it.

I wanta drive


two blocks. Why walk—


I want love, n stuff—


I want to cut

my sutures myself.


I want to jog

down to the river


& make it my bed—


I want to walk

its muddy banks


& make me a withdrawal.


I tried jumping in,

found it frozen—


I'll go home, I guess,

to my rooms where the moon


changes & shines

like television.



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