Finding out that my poem “I Dreamed a Young Man Coming Home” was a semi-finalist in the latest Tupelo Quarterly poetry contest, and that it would appear in TQ5, felt a little like the first time National Geographic Traveler accepted one of my travel stories. I LOVE the work they publish.
Kind of a strange story about this poem–reading it now, the poem (and the dream that inspired it) would SEEM to be about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson. So many of the details seem to fit (the cigarettes, which made me think of the cigars/cigarillos he’d allegedly taken from the convenience store a little earlier; the railroad tracks–Ferguson’s claim to fame seems to be a railway depot there, and the shooting occurred a short distance from the tracks; the young man’s grandmother coming to find him; the fact that it took place in the outskirts of a larger city, etc.). But I had the dream about two weeks before the shooting occurred, and submitted the poem to Tupelo Quarterly the day before it happened.
During the dream, I heard the word “Yashin”, and assumed that it was the young man’s name. Subsequently, however, I learned that in Aramaic, at least, the word means “those who are desperate/without hope.” That seemed to fit as well.
Or maybe I’m over-thinking it. In any case, here’s the poem (read the others there, too!).