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Old 08-26-2017, 10:09 PM   #726
AlwaysHungry
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
Split Personality

There are two of us in mind,
one that has a pebble in our loafers,
always sees dirty water in the creek,

full of paramecia,
and watches muddy Jersey cows traipse
to mud crusted stanchions in the barn.

As a farmer on this planet,
neatly appointed in pinstripes,
I never quite get used to it,

so I hike the stairs to the rooftop
from my farm on the 45th floor
and get in my spaceship, fly towards the stars,

but as I turn by coincidence,
I catch a glimpse of our planet
and, my, the clouds are woven silk,

the oceans the bluest I’ve ever seen,
and the orb as round as the warm face of
my smiling Marguerite.

So I throttle back down where I find
all the flora green with life.
I cup my hands for a taste of the creek.

The eastern pines waft their perfume;
why even manure I step on smells clean
to the earthworms and the millipedes

and, look! though there’s blood on the sac,
the heifer’s cow bell rings with joy,
for she’s just given birth to her calf

and see how beautiful the pond scum is
as water lilies dance in the sun
to the jingle on a distant TV.
I like this one, it's very vivid and intense, but I have two quibbles: the title, which I think is prosaic, and the final line, which I don't get. I think the poem functions well without it.
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Old 08-27-2017, 08:54 AM   #727
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
Split Personality

There are two of us in mind,
one that has a pebble in our loafers,
always sees dirty water in the creek,

full of paramecia,
and watches muddy Jersey cows traipse
to mud crusted stanchions in the barn.

As a farmer on this planet,
neatly appointed in pinstripes,
I never quite get used to it,

so I hike the stairs to the rooftop
from my farm on the 45th floor
and get in my spaceship, fly towards the stars,

but as I turn by coincidence,
I catch a glimpse of our planet
and, my, the clouds are woven silk,

the oceans the bluest I’ve ever seen,
and the orb as round as the warm face of
my smiling Marguerite.

So I throttle back down where I find
all the flora green with life.
I cup my hands for a taste of the creek.

The eastern pines waft their perfume;
why even manure I step on smells clean
to the earthworms and the millipedes

and, look! though there’s blood on the sac,
the heifer’s cow bell rings with joy,
for she’s just given birth to her calf

and see how beautiful the pond scum is
as water lilies dance in the sun
to the jingle on a distant TV.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlwaysHungry View Post
I like this one, it's very vivid and intense, but I have two quibbles: the title, which I think is prosaic, and the final line, which I don't get. I think the poem functions well without it.
Thanks for the comment, AH.

The images are deliberately absurd. We are not farmers after all. We moderns in my view are not well connected with nature. For some it's only a golf course that's manicured. The closer we get to it, we find it is often messy, but still beautiful. Nor do we have to give up the benefits of modern life, suggested in the last line, which I rather like.

As to the title, I have mixed feelings about it. Merriam-Webster offers the following:

Full Definition
1 a : schizophrenia — not used technically
b : multiple personality disorder — not used technically
2 : a dual nature or character <a city with a split personality>

1 would add confusion; 2 is the point I'm trying to suggest.
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Old 08-28-2017, 11:58 AM   #728
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Sean-nós Dancing

Today’s the Lord’s Day, the one day of rest
from your bales of cotton, dust mites, and looms
when claypipe faces play craps on the street
in Five Points where, if you want to see trees,
you sneak on a trolley to Central Park
or ferry to poplars in Potter's Field
whose trenches can take in forty-eight each
out on Hart Island that’s missing its “e.”

But forget about that. It’s Sunday, Lad,
when green eyed red headed Irish girls
dance in a tenement garbage filled alley,
strapped with two shims of wood on their feet
while hand me down boys with tin whistles finger
“Praise the good day at the cease of it.”

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-27-2017 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 08-30-2017, 10:53 AM   #729
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Silver Bells in the City

The financiers all agreed
pushcarts made the city look bad.

Who knew how old the jerky was,
if there was sawdust in the flour,

and why the hassle of winter transactions
out on the street near vacant buildings

that could be turned into stalls for boutiques
in a warm atmosphere with body heat

and maybe negro musicians from Harlem
as “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”

Of course there would be a little pricing
for the precinct and hizzoner, the mayor,

free popcorn on Sunday for the kiddies,
and a bag of potpourri for the missus.

Some long haired freak went berserk.
Pandemonium spilled to the street

after which when things settled down
the faithful returned to the joyful sound

that cash register silver bells make
when they ring, ca-ching, ca-ching.

.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-18-2017 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 08-31-2017, 07:26 PM   #730
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Disfigurement

Unaccustomed to strangers,
I didn't speak.
He looked at me. It felt deep,
as beautiful a look I ever did see.

My face would turn your bowels to water.
He chose instead to envelop me,
and my face flushed a great warmth.
We didn't speak, but I quivered.

Life taught me to always look down
where suddenly I thought I might find
shoes of a fisherman

when there on the pavement I found
under his frock ten yellow split
stained glass windows into his soul.
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Old 09-02-2017, 12:16 PM   #731
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The Trogloraptors

When The New Yorker showed no interest,
a scholar from Des Moines Iowa came
to study some of our samples.

In spite of their ejectives
he like the subtlety of the feet,
“almost Wordsworthian,” said he
but designated their movement as
“Trogloraptor Juvenilia”
inasmuch as they needed
a lot more growth and development.

"Yours are alike but different from
Gradungulidae," he said.
"Grand dung diddly Dada," we chortled,
thinking we coined a neologism.

He assured us we didn't.
Other scholars said much the same
of the "Grads" as they're known in academe
where they are rather demodé
because there are sixteen versions of them.

“Although they’re still popular in Australia,
yours is the first of its kind," he said,
"Les professeurs will soon take note
and theses will fill up campuses

in order to master the fine art of
the dark and deeper environs
in what someday may be known as
"The Discovery of the Trogloraptors."

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-03-2017 at 02:41 PM.
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Old 09-04-2017, 10:07 AM   #732
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Moshe's Other Number

“4 1 3 1 2,” she read
the tattoo on his arm again,
sitting on her zayde's lap,
as Moshe with a crayon drew
on poster paper right to left
what Sarah said "looked almost like
the grass that grew in Central Park
my Mama Sunday took me to."

And when she asked her zayde what
the funny looking number was*
he said it was a secret one
that only God and Zayde knew,
which was the better half of truth
before he hugged her half to death.

*ארבעים ואחד אלפים שלוש-מאות שלושה-עשר
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Old 09-06-2017, 09:20 AM   #733
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Angie's Ballad

Her father cried one thousand times
from rage that almost killed
before he checked the chambered round
to trigger what he willed:

"Hush, little darling, don't you cry.
Fiddle dum, fiddle dee.
Hush your sweet little angel eyes
and rock yourself to sleep."

Such irony, he thought, in June
the sun would set blood red,
the label on his Bud be red,
and there would soon be wet

red drops of blood as in the bag
inside a post-op room
where Jennie met a ghost one night
that swilled inside her womb.

A wise man once said grief was truth,
whatever the offense,
first denial, then bargaining,
anger, then the evidence

of truth, translated peace, I hope
that last September night;
I'd like to think that Jennie dreamed
of one bright candlelight

that she and Angie soon would share.
Fiddle dum, fiddle dee.
Jennie, close your tired eyes
and rock yourself to sleep.

The morphine hastened Angie's sleep
when fading shadows start
to whisper prayers she can not hear,
though heartfelt, heartfelt, heart.......

It stopped," the doctor said who felt
no pulse left in the blood
and wondered why the suffering
and if there was a God.

There was, however, one more soul,
a sister five years old,
when Angie died and falling leaves
would better have been snow

to seem like flakes on Niki's cheeks
that melt and trickle there
while others whiten one more plot
of cubic brown despair.


We don’t hear much about A.I.D.S. anymore in the news. I suppose that’s good, suggesting there are fewer deaths from it. However, back in the late 1980’s and 90’s, it was considered an epidemic. With only a little embellishment for artistic reasons, the short ballad above is a true story in Vermont, my home state, affecting an entire family in a small town not far from where I worked for many years.

I think about the Folsom family every year about this time in Vermont.

http://community.seattletimes.nwsour...6&slug=1098597

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-06-2017 at 09:23 AM.
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Old 09-08-2017, 09:03 AM   #734
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Changing Diapers

I remember which little piggy
wee wee wee'd all the way home,
my nightly poem to pass some time
the while I take your diaper off
and roll you over onto bed
to baby wipe another day
before I lay you down to sleep
and sing to you a lullaby,

you who knew a million words
and why the sky was blue
you answered me one hundred times,
almost as much as God loves you,
you who no longer knows my name
whom you smile at all the same.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-05-2017 at 05:26 AM. Reason: Changed last line. See Mer’s comment following.
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:14 PM   #735
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You're on a roll, gm. The last one, Changing Diapers, takes such a hard turn. Craft-wise, the ending is not as strong as the beginning - that last line has an awkward bump in it - but it is a minor blip compared to the story it tells.

I think we may have seen a previous iteration of Moshe's Other Number: I really like this iteration. I do wish I read Hebrew - perhaps a translation?
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:54 PM   #736
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Quote:
Originally Posted by legerdemer View Post
You're on a roll, gm. The last one, Changing Diapers, takes such a hard turn. Craft-wise, the ending is not as strong as the beginning - that last line has an awkward bump in it - but it is a minor blip compared to the story it tells.

I think we may have seen a previous iteration of Moshe's Other Number: I really like this iteration. I do wish I read Hebrew - perhaps a translation?
Thanks, Mer. I intended that the number itself was insignificant, except that it refers to another concentration camp tattoo, and Moshe has chosen to honor the person's memory by writing it in Hebrew, rather than the cardinal numbers the Nazis used.
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Old 09-10-2017, 08:51 PM   #737
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A Short Schematic on 9/11

Egyptians worshipped scarabs in the sand
that buried dung as pabulum to leave
their larvae, though they did not understand.

We almost canonize the dogs that grieve
their dying masters’ final days in bed
with wag and whimper measures of relief.

The robin will regurgitate the dead:
small bugs and earthworms with the sole intent
to nourish nestlings eager to be fed.

And as to us, what may we represent?
While some would kill the guiltless to acclaim
their God, there too was Joe or Jane, hellbent,
who knew the souls within, if not by name,
to be delivered. Then the towers went.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-11-2017 at 08:51 AM.
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Old 09-13-2017, 07:45 PM   #738
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About the Ending of Time

When I undertake to tell the best, I find I can not.
My tongue is ineffectual on its pivots,
My breath will not be obedient to its organs,
I become a dumb man.

Walt Whitman


I must have fallen asleep
and however I tried to speak in my dream
nothing came out of my mouth
in a room where there was no sound,

although I still could think,
but there I was, a mime,
who couldn't even pantomime
what? I didn't know anymore.

I was losing it. I was noosed.
Not as much as an “ow”
dangled from my tongue,
no consonant, no vowel

and then no eyes nor hands
were groping for the what?
a wall? or maybe it's called a floor,
and whatever it was on top
that isn't there anymore

until Henrietta called
“It’s time for dinner” and I woke up,
leaning on a cord of wood.
I brought some in as kindling
to the house last Sunday afternoon.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 11-05-2017 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 09-15-2017, 08:59 PM   #739
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Only poems relating to songs were eligible for Piscator’s “Golden Shovel Challenge.” However, because I liked the exercise, I wanted to see what I could do with one of my favorite poems.

Perhaps more importantly, mine is an homage to my father who always wanted to be an accountant but came of age during the Depression and couldn’t afford to go to college.

Those Winter Sundays

BY ROBERT HAYDEN

Sundays too my father got up early
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold,
then with cracked hands that ached
from labor in the weekday weather made
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him.

I’d wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking.
When the rooms were warm, he’d call,
and slowly I would rise and dress,
fearing the chronic angers of that house,

speaking indifferently to him,
who had driven out the cold
and polished my good shoes as well.
What did I know, what did I know
of love’s austere and lonely offices?

Every Monday Through Friday

The mailman got up early.
Why, even July was cold
sweat when the mailbag ached
his shoulder such that it made
daydreams that companies wanted him
to keep their bottom line from breaking.

His secretary was holding a call
at her desk wearing a V-neck dress
as he opened mailboxes house
to house. Then she’d order coffee for him

just in time so it wouldn’t get cold
as he studied the companies well
through the embossments he’s gotten to know
in brochures mailed from their offices.
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Old 09-17-2017, 08:56 PM   #740
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From the Forest of the Triple Goddess

We wisely did not go into the world
to love too greatly when the Word
became heraldic and pontifical.

We knew there would be cottages burned
not far from the forest in which we hid
where some met secretly with husbands
whose crops went to the manor
for Earl, the Pope, and two bishops
who gave indulgences to their flock
for having run down witches.

But in the beginning their Word was Love
when Caesar began his circus with stone.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-27-2017 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 09-20-2017, 07:18 PM   #741
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Tiberius Has Landed in Joppa

Because the corpse was stolen
from the tomb to foment violence,
I command you, Centurion,

have your men search all houses,
form a column around the body
when you find it as you certainly will.

Thereupon call your legionaries
that they return stealthily
the criminal to where he was entombed

while the hoi polloi, like children
in the marketplace will soon forget
and call to one another,

else, Longinus, I fear for us
that we be sent to protect
the Empire in the desert

from puny rebels in Mauritania,
as ugly as Medusa’s snakes
and as dark as it was last Friday.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-26-2017 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 09-25-2017, 09:36 AM   #742
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Looking Down at my Clowns

My words are clowns with soft plastic hammers
that slapstick silly their clown master’s brain
but appear pantomimic when I take
toast and tea with Doink and Chuckles
because, I’m afraid, we all would agree
it’s impossible to say what they mean.

Nor do I know why the universe spins.
With all our science I only know how.
So I will compose my nursery rhymes
and cling to this rock as we merrily
go round.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 09-25-2017 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 09-29-2017, 10:37 PM   #743
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Neologism

Fred who's dead isn't sure what he is,
since Fred has been turned into a blinrutz,
the meaning of which makes no sense
but to the coiner of the same

in Tohu wa-bohu long before
bereshit in the Garden
which isn't what you think it is
because it's in the beginning,

and as to Tohu wa-bohu,
I wouldn't know where to begin.
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Old 10-05-2017, 05:20 AM   #744
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Thomas Said to Evelyn

We should think about life
and yes, even death every day, my Love,
not as dark news at eleven
fretting alone in one’s bed,

but as beeswax melting slowly
when monks put pen to ink before dawn,
and each stroke finishes softly
as in the making of love.

Let us light a candle, my Love,
before the autumn’s sun comes up
by which we have seen so many days

turn into months, months into years
of wrinkles, except that laugh lines aren’t silent;
tongues are pliant, and lips are soft.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-08-2017 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 04:38 PM   #745
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Holy Smokes and There’s Ice Cream!

Wally, the truth can be told.
You were the emperor of ice cream.

Not amazed with Grace laid out
in her pale-face shroud too short for her feet
you dished out vanilla in the kitchen
to everyone who wheedled in for a scoop

and then for the men a free cigar;
to the ladies you pointed the way
for one last look at Grace’s display
of her cracked Stoke on Trent bone China

while you there whipping couldn’t imagine
Grace hopscotching the universe,
laughing and wiggling her bony toes
between all the butterscotch hills on stars.

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-16-2017 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 10-07-2017, 05:59 PM   #746
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
Thomas Said to Evelyn

We should think about life
and yes, even death every day, my Love,
not as darks news at eleven
fretting alone in one’s bed,

but as beeswax melting slowly
when monks put pen to ink before dawn,
and each stroke finishes softly
as in the making of love.

Let us light a candle, my Love,
before the autumn’s sun comes up
by which we have seen so many days

turn into months, months into years
of wrinkles, except that laugh lines aren’t silent;
tongues are pliant, and lips are soft.
I really enjoyed this, even though, or perhaps because it sent me to Google to sort out which Thomas and Evelyn and what they were talking about. Another gm tutorial.
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Old 10-08-2017, 12:40 PM   #747
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenmountaineer View Post
Thomas Said to Evelyn

We should think about life
and yes, even death every day, my Love,
not as dark news at eleven
fretting alone in one’s bed,

but as beeswax melting slowly
when monks put pen to ink before dawn,
and each stroke finishes softly
as in the making of love.

Let us light a candle, my Love,
before the autumn’s sun comes up
by which we have seen so many days

turn into months, months into years
of wrinkles, except that laugh lines aren’t silent;
tongues are pliant, and lips are soft.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Piscator View Post
I really enjoyed this, even though, or perhaps because it sent me to Google to sort out which Thomas and Evelyn and what they were talking about. Another gm tutorial.

Thanks, P’tor. Thomas and Evelyn could be any aging couple in the many ways of making love.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:55 PM   #748
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Gleaning

He would not harvest to the edge of fields
to monetize more property
for his last will and testament.

Sam looked outside at omnivorous men,
collecting snap peas and carrots at dusk,
taking perhaps what the government gave
before they took what they could from others

"or maybe not," Sam said in his parlor
as he warmed his feet before the fire
and took off socks to darn tomorrow.
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Old 10-13-2017, 01:40 PM   #749
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The Ballad of Sister Kate

Sister Katherine, Lord have mercy!
in a state of panic
left from Dublin, All Aboard!
RMS Titanic,

fleeing from one Father John,
"that damn Dominican
tried to kiss me in the vestry.
Save me from that man!"

Well, we know what happened next,
passengers then frantic,
some of whom would soon be fished
by fish in the Atlantic.

Kathryn didn't worry though,
although just twenty-seven;
Bishop Burnes and Pope the Pius
said that there's a heaven.

And Poof!, well, there the young nun was
before the pearly gates
but then Alas! she lost her wings
and fell as did the cheats.

St. Peter picked up, seventh ring,
when Sister Katherine called:
"What in heaven's happening?
St. Peter, I'm appalled,

with all my prayer, my piety,
and Father John's foul drool;
as if you didn't know I wore
a sackcloth hair shirt too!"

"Now, Sister Katherine, don't despair,
bureaucracy, you know;
I'll ring you back by five, my Dear,
and have you good to go."

"Some devil's making eyes at me;
I wish you'd hurry, Sir;
He made me take my wimple off;
it's hot as heck down here.

St. Peter's office, what a mess!,
Gabe's horn doesn't blow,
the deus ex machina broke,
angels flying to and fro

looking for some virgin girls
so that there won't erupt
a second jihad by the gates.
Another cloud blows up.

"Enough of this!" she said at six,
"He must think I'm a fool;"
she got St. Peter on the line;
this time she kept her cool:

"Hey, Pete! It's Kate, the hair shirt's gone.
Red's asking would I like
to BBQ with him tonight.
I told him take a hike,

but if you don't get off your ass
and get my wings tout de suite,
I'm gonna raise some hell with Red
until you raise me, Pete."

Last edited by greenmountaineer : 10-13-2017 at 01:50 PM. Reason: Edited version of an original post
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Old 10-17-2017, 11:08 AM   #750
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Penny for Your Thoughts

You won some contest in Houston
by a dead woman whose money was used
until the money ran out.

Yankee frugal I am not,
but still I leafed a poem or two,
before I paid my dollar,

marked down from five,
down from three,
at Messrs. Barnes & Noble.

And I’m glad I found you, Nolan,
whatever few pennies you got,
so here’s a little ditty

to thank you for a little vers libre,
two ballads, and an elegy,
and for saying something about
the price we pay for poetry.
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