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Old 11-29-2017, 10:18 PM   #26
Tzara
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Scott Catalogue #J78: $5 Postage Due (1930)

That's like 86 dollars now.
How would have anyone forgotten

to lather stamps like confetti
onto what must have been a package

of some considerable weight?
Especially smack in the Great Depression,

where my mother gnawed at popsicle sticks
for sweets. What

could anyone have been mailing that would cost
so much? Gold ingots, pornography,

uranium ore in a leaded case?
Lovely opium poppies in a crystal vase?

.
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Old 12-01-2017, 01:00 AM   #27
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Scott Catalogue #1283b: 5˘ George Washington (1966)

I pasted this stamp on daily letters
to my high school love,

well, and to another
I wasn't willing to give up.

This stamp was reissued, having been redrawn
to remove the dirt on George's cheek.

My own dirt lingers. I wanted both of them
and neither did I reap.


.
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Old 12-01-2017, 10:46 PM   #28
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Scott Catalogue #1436: 8˘ Emily Dickinson (1971)

In rocky meter, oddly rhymed,
Miss Dickinson composed
Her life, distilled into her poems—
Where Life lay'd bare, unclothed.

Then academics noticed her—
The "Belle of Amherst," she
Grew celebrated for her work
In varied shades of gray.

.
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Old 12-02-2017, 08:19 PM   #29
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Scott Catalogue #RW1: $1 Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp (1934)

Two ducks
engraved in blue—
their hunters own this stamp
to finance conservation and
two shoot.

.
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Last edited by Tzara : 12-03-2017 at 12:39 AM. Reason: Tweak.
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Old 12-03-2017, 10:22 PM   #30
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Scott Catalogue #2239: 22˘ T. S. Eliot (1986)

Face like a raptor
poised to kill,

Ezra's creation,
writing swill.

Renounced his country
for UK.

A brilliant poet,
anyway.

(And now l think I'll
eat a peach.)

.
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Old 12-04-2017, 10:18 PM   #31
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Scott Catalogue #911: 5˘ Overrun Countries, Norway (1943)

Between the phoenix
and the supplicant
unfurls the flag

of my father's father's
country. St. Olaf's cross,
a little agitated

at the right edge.
God Bless America,
is my non-ironic sentiment—

why I've always liked this stamp
and its brothers,
the background color muted,

as backgrounds should be,
each countries' flags
centered, bright, and so particularly beautiful.

.
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Last edited by Tzara : 12-05-2017 at 10:15 PM. Reason: Changed image.
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Old 12-05-2017, 10:38 PM   #32
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Scott Catalogue #3533: 34˘ Enrico Fermi (2001)

On the squash court
at U of C
your graphite pile
went critical.

So, Enrico,
you were right.
Its outcome,
though, political.

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Old 12-06-2017, 10:36 PM   #33
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Scott Catalogue #C3a: 24˘ Air Curtiss Jenny (1918)

A famous error. Flip the plane
and fly it upside down.

Our politics are just the same:
we've got some orange clown.

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Old 12-08-2017, 03:46 PM   #34
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Memory Scrap Book -1.

Sister

I never asked how she felt
when I arrived in the midst
of singular turmoil
as if she’d remember.
Perhaps, quite unconsciously,
she resented this usurper and the
dilution of her mother’s total absorption,
a bald, squalling doll-thing.
Growing up to love-hate,
a complicated rivalry where she always
won the trophy leaving me seething
and deflated, now a million miles
divide us and we correspond cautiously.
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Old 12-08-2017, 03:57 PM   #35
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Memory Scrap Book - 2

Grandfather

In the days of National Service
when every young man did his duty
like it or not, we walk the platform
of one of those cavernous London
stations past sprawling ranks of
fledgling fighters, uniforms new
and strange.
Shyly, I eye these handsome wanna-be
heroes that never would be. My grandfather
haughtily eyes them too. Loudly
and well within earshot of the lone
black boy, to my teenage horror,
he says. “My God! Do they take
niggers in the army now?”
In that split second I feel shame
for both of us and see my elder
in a new and less respectful light.
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Old 12-09-2017, 02:21 PM   #36
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Memory Scrap Book -3

Bullies

They come in all sizes
and guises. Some smile
as they slice you, others
grimly grind, determined to
produce tears or lunch money.

In my case he smilingly
pushed my face deep into
gritty snow and left me
scratched, specs askew,
humiliated.

Moving on
to his next pint-sized victim
I swung an adult sized
weapon, a snow shovel,
and hit him square to sprawl in
the snow. No supper and
early to bed, but it was worth it.
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Old 12-09-2017, 09:11 PM   #37
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Memory Scrap Book - 4

Uncles and Aunts

There were uncles and aunts
a-plenty. Generous and loving,
they indulged us gleefully, often
with no children of their own
as templates to guide them
or warn of hyper-benevolence.

We children absorbed the love
like greedy little sponges.
Christmas and birthdays were
shameless indulgences with
thoughtful gestures from uncles
or aunts, often broken
and forlorn before bedtime.

School holidays meant a stay
with one or other of our countless
uncomplaining relatives. The lucky
went to Cornwall or London, others
up the road for more of the same.

Eccentricity was the norm.
Spindly spinster Auntie Annie,
a librarian who collected Grimm’s
story books and cats both of which
frightened us. Uncle John made
string puppets and told us vivid stories
that reappeared in my dreams.
Uncle Charles lived in Wales,
quoted Dylan at the table instead
of grace and cheated at Scrabble.
We loved them all unconditionally.
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Old 12-09-2017, 11:19 PM   #38
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1-3

You spent the whole night strumming E.
I watched a nest of Robin's eggs,
blue speckled on a canvas three
while you were ever strumming E
singing it, too, just endlessly--
a night that crept on quiet legs
except, of course, for lots of E
as I looked at the Robin's eggs.
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Last edited by Angeline : 12-11-2017 at 12:08 AM.
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Old 12-11-2017, 12:41 AM   #39
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Menmory Scrap Book - 5

Toys

There was my sister’s perfect, tiny
china tea set that I jealously coveted
and the huge teddy bear that moo’d
more than growled which scared the
depositing postman as he nervously
handed it over the threshold.

We had a wonderful wheeled toy,
child-sized version of a railway
handcar. The four of us took turns to
hurtle round the neighbourhood scaring
old ladies and dogs. Such tear-away
conduct caused scowls of disapproval
and we were steered towards books,
puzzles and other less boisterous
endeavours.

Later we’d disappear from morning
to dusk on gearless bikes to play
in hay fields or steal fruit from
unguarded orchards.
My children were not so lucky, not so
care-free, my generation saw the
end of the age of innocence.

Last edited by GuiltyPleasure : 12-11-2017 at 11:07 PM.
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Old 12-11-2017, 11:59 PM   #40
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Memory Scrap Book - 6

Music

It was a constant in life, matins piano or evensong oboe.

Last edited by GuiltyPleasure : 12-12-2017 at 12:07 AM. Reason: Pean-o or Pee-an-o?
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Old 12-12-2017, 03:50 PM   #41
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Memory Scrap Book -7

family

First and foremost of
All, we were a cadenza, a
Muddle of psyches, some claim
I was the distillation, temper hot as chilli.
Lively and loving, very tactful
Yet speaking my mind thoughtfully.

Last edited by GuiltyPleasure : 12-15-2017 at 04:31 PM. Reason: to center an acrostic or not
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Old 12-13-2017, 03:20 PM   #42
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Memory Scrap Book - 8

Emergency

Our beleaguered mother
was greeted by name
so often did she attend
with one or other of her
four offspring needing to
be stitched up, x-ray-ed or
plaster of Paris applied to
broken limbs.

We fell off too-high walls
or speeding bicycles. We
misused pen-knives or stepped
on broken glass. One of us
swallowed mercury, a pussy willow
found its way so far up a nose
requiring yet another trip to
Emergency and once one sibling
threw a 6 ounce weight at another’s
head denting it badly but not
permanently. It is greatly to our
mother’s credit that all four
of us are still alive.
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Old 12-15-2017, 04:19 PM   #43
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Memory Scrap Book - 9

Conflict and Concordance

We fought like cats and dogs, we did, my four siblings and I,
competitive and petulant, we often came to blows
but wounded feelings never lasted, we’d reunify.

Our father, often overcome, would scold us all in prose
hoping it would calm us all down or send us off to sleep
needless to say it did not work, he loved us I suppose.

One of us, not saying who, broke the mould, a true black sheep,
a pacifist, an open heart worn bravely on the sleeve
when war broke out the challenge was a fragile peace to keep.

Strangers thought us the perfect brood, we let them thus believe,
behaving well, manners in place, hiding a Janus face
we showed our parents what they wanted rather than deceive.


As years went by our squabbling stopped and friendship took its place,
we share joys and sorrows, in this family steeple-chase.
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Old 12-17-2017, 12:41 AM   #44
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Memory Scrap Book - 10

Incredible

An unlikely pairing, with her roots
deep in medieval France and his
just south of Hadrian’s wall.
Blue stocking meets black sheep,
posh meets prole. Divergent
bloodlines, historically remote,
chance and happenstance made
the nexus, blended differences,
created a couple who, in turn
created, with love.
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