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Old 02-04-2016, 10:54 AM   #1
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Let's Hear It for the Non-Lit Poets

Do you have poems you'd like to read that are not written by you or another Literotica poet? If you have a poem from outside our little world, voice it here. Alternatively you can post a link to a video or sound recording of someone else reading a poem.

This thread is meant to complement Trixareforkids' Let's Hear It For The Poets thread. (there is also a discussion thread here).

When you post a poem, make sure you credit the author and (if different) the reader.

So please share poems you want the rest of us to love. Save your commentary about poems here (and in the original Let's Hear It thread) for the discussion thread.

I'll start the fun off with a link to a presentation of a poem I love: Langston Hughes' Weary Blues. The poem is recited by author and Harvard Professor Dr. Allen Dwight Callahan.


Last edited by Angeline : 02-04-2016 at 11:20 AM.
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:40 PM   #2
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Sara Holbrook

Chicks Up Front

Before and after,
we stand separate,
stuck to the same beer-soaked floor,
fragranced, facing the same restroom mirror.
Adjusting loose hairs--
mine brown, hers purple.
Fumbling for lipsticks--
mine pink, hers black--
a color I couldn't wear anyway
since that convention of lines
gathered around my mouth last year and won't leave.
We avoid eye contact,
both of us are afraid of being carded.

Mature, I supposed, I should speak,
but what can I say to the kind of hostility
that turns hair purple and lips black?
Excuse me, I know I never pierced my nose,
but hey, I was revolting once too?
Back. Before I joined the PTA,
when wonder bras meant, “where'd I put that.”
I rebelled against the government system,
the male-female system,
the corporate system, you name it.
I marched, I chanted, I demonstrated.
And when shit got passed around,
I was there, sweetheart, and I inhaled.
Does she know that tear gas
makes your nose run worse than your eyes?
Would she believe that I was a volunteer
when they called “chicks up front,”
because no matter
what kind of hand-to-hand combat
the helmeted authoritarians may have been
engaged in at home,
they were still hesitant to hit girls
with batons in the streets.
“CHICKS UP FRONT!” and we marched and
we marched and we marched right back home.

Where we bore the children we were not going to bring into this mad world, and we
brought them home to the houses we were never going to wallpaper
in those Laura Ashley prints
and we took jobs with the corporate mongers
we were not going to let supervise our lives,
where we skyrocketed to
middle-management positions
accepting less money
than we were never going to take anyway
and spending it on the Barbie Dolls
we were never going to buy for our daughters.

And after each party
for our comings and goings
we whisked the leftovers into dust pans,
debriefing and talking each other down
from the drugs and the men
as if they were different,
resuscitating one another as women do,
mouth to mouth.

That some of those we put up front
really did get beaten down
and others now bathe themselves daily
in Prozac to maintain former freshness.
Should I explain what tedious work it is
putting role models together,
and how strategic pieces
sometimes get sucked up by this vacuum.
And while we intended to take
one giant leap for womankind,
I wound up taking one small step, alone.

What can I say at that moment
when our eyes meet in the mirror,
which they will.
What can I say to purple hair, black lips
and a nose ring?
What can I say?

Take care.
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:54 PM   #3
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Diane DiPrima

Revolutionary Letters
Dedicated to Bob Dylan

I have just realized that the stakes are myself
I have no other
ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life
my spirit measured out, in bits, spread over
the roulette table, I recoup what I can
nothing else to shove under the nose of the maitre de jeu
nothing to thrust out the window, no white flag
this flesh is all I have to offer, to make the play with
this immediate head, what it comes up with, my move
as we slither over this Go board, stepping always
(we hope) between the lines
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-07-2016, 06:57 PM   #4
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and a fun repeat

David Lerner

The Night of the Living Tits

Joie was back in town, see
and the joint was even liver than usual
the night of the living tits

see, poems were read
in honor of her return
from San Diego
where she'd been in self-imposed exile
boiling her art down to the impossible

but, anyway, she read a story, a
fierce flaming tale of truth and sentiment
ending with the lines,
“It's just like Dorothy said,
'There's no fuckin' place like home,'”

and the place was like an
inferno of joy

and then she showed her tits

and then Danielle got up
to read
and she showed her tits
and it was good

and the temperature somehow rose
and the fair Kathleen, she
showed hers too
with a little bump and grind
they were excellent, soft and

and then it was Anna's turn

and everyone was so happy

tits, Joie, beer, poetry, dementia, heart attacks, the
world and everything in it, trading places
with fire, it was just
one of those nights
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-10-2016, 12:01 AM   #5
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by Louise Glück

My mother’s playing cards with my aunt,
Spite and Malice, the family pastime, the game
my grandmother taught all her daughters.

Midsummer: too hot to go out.
Today, my aunt’s ahead; she’s getting the good cards.
My mother’s dragging, having trouble with her concentration.
She can’t get used to her own bed this summer.
She had no trouble last summer,
getting used to the floor. She learned to sleep there
to be near my father.
He was dying; he got a special bed.

My aunt doesn’t give an inch, doesn’t make
allowance for my mother’s weariness.
It’s how they were raised: you show respect by fighting.
To let up insults the opponent.

Each player has one pile to the left, five cards in the hand.
It’s good to stay inside on days like this,
to stay where it’s cool.
And this is better than other games, better than solitaire.

My grandmother thought ahead; she prepared her daughters.
They have cards; they have each other.
They don’t need any more companionship.

All afternoon the game goes on but the sun doesn’t move.
It just keeps beating down, turning the grass yellow.
That’s how it must seem to my mother.
And then, suddenly, something is over.

My aunt’s been at it longer; maybe that’s why she’s playing better.
Her cards evaporate: that’s what you want, that’s the object: in the end,
the one who has nothing wins.
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-10-2016, 01:47 AM   #6
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The dog trots freely in the street
and sees reality
and the things he sees
are bigger than himself
and the things he sees
are his reality
Drunks in doorways
Moons on trees
The dog trots freely thru the street
and the things he sees
are smaller than himself
Fish on newsprint
Ants in holes
Chickens in Chinatown windows
their heads a block away
The dog trots freely in the street
and the things he smells
smell something like himself
The dog trots freely in the street
past puddles and babies
cats and cigars
poolrooms and policemen
He doesn’t hate cops
He merely has no use for them
and he goes past them
and past the dead cows hung up whole
in front of the San Francisco Meat Market
He would rather eat a tender cow
than a tough policeman
though either might do
And he goes past the Romeo Ravioli Factory
and past Coit’s Tower
and past Congressman Doyle
He’s afraid of Coit’s Tower
but he’s not afraid of Congressman Doyle
although what he hears is very discouraging
very depressing
very absurd
to a sad young dog like himself
to a serious dog like himself
But he has his own free world to live in
His own fleas to eat
He will not be muzzled
Congressman Doyle is just another
fire hydrant
to him
The dog trots freely in the street
and has his own dog’s life to live
and to think about
and to reflect upon
touching and tasting and testing everything
investigating everything
without benefit of perjury
a real realist
with a real tale to tell
and a real tail to tell it with
a real live
democratic dog
engaged in real
free enterprise
with something to say
about ontology
something to say
about reality
and how to see it
and how to hear it
with his head cocked sideways
at streetcorners
as if he is just about to have
his picture taken
for Victor Records
listening for
His Master’s Voice
and looking
like a living questionmark
into the
great gramaphone
of puzzling existence
with its wondrous hollow horn
which always seems
just about to spout forth
some Victorious answer
to everything
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Old 02-11-2016, 12:31 AM   #7
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Black Lace Bra Kind of Woman
by Sandra Cisneros

para la mujer de fuerza—la Terry
who today is thirty-one

¡Wachale! She’s a black lace bra
kind of woman, the kind who serves
up suicide with every kamikaze
poured in the neon blue of evening.
A tease and a twirl. I’ve seen that
two-step girl in action. I’ve gambled bad
odds and sat shotgun when she rambled
her ’59 Pontiac between the blurred
lines dividing sense from senselessness.

Ruin your clothes, she will.
Get you home way after hours.
Drive her ’59 seventy-five on 35
like there is no tomorrow.
Woman zydeco-ing into her own decade.
Thirty years pleated behind her like
the wail of a San Antonio accordion.
And now the good times are coming. Girl,
I tell you, the good times are here.

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Old 02-11-2016, 01:05 AM   #8
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Red Shift
by Ted Berrigan

Here I am at 8:08 p.m. indefinable ample rhythmic frame
The air is biting, February, fierce arabesques
on the way to tree in winter streetscape
I drink some American poison liquid air which bubbles
and smoke to have character and to lean
In. The streets look for Allen, Frank, or me, Allen
is a movie, Frank disappearing in the air, it's
Heavy with that lightness, heavy on me, I heave
through it, them, as
The Calvados is being sipped on Long island now
twenty years almost ago, and the man smoking
Is looking at the smilingly attentive woman, & telling.
Who would have thought that I'd be here, nothing
wrapped up, nothing buried, everything
Love, children, hundreds of them, money, marriage-
ethics, a politics of grace,
Up in the air, swirling, burning even or still, now
more than ever before?
Not that practically a boy, serious in corduroy car coat
eyes penetrating the winter twilight at 6th
& Bowery in 1961. Not that pretty girl, nineteen, who was
going to have to go, careening into middle-age so,
To burn, & to burn more fiercely than even she could imagine
so to go. Not that painter who from very first meeting
I would never & never will leave alone until we both vanish
into the thin air we signed up for & so demanded
To breathe & who will never leave me, not for sex, nor politics
nor even for stupid permanent estrangement which is
Only our human lot & means nothing. No, not him.
There's a song, 'California Dreaming', but no, I won't do that
I am 43. When will I die? I will never die, I will live
To be 110, & I will never go away, & you will never escape from me
who am always & only a ghost, despite this frame, Spirit
Who lives only to nag.
I'm only pronouns, & I am all of them, & I didn't ask for this
You did
I came into your life to change it & it did so & now nothing
will ever change
That, and that's that.
Alone & crowded, unhappy fate, nevertheless
I slip softly into the air
The world's furious song flows through my costume.

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Old 02-11-2016, 07:44 AM   #9
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Here's some Ted B. reading for a frame of reference. He is a fast-talker, an East Coast type fast talker imo. (His poetry lectures are great to hear or read as well. He's down to earth, but has interesting ideas to ponder.)

Sonnet XXXVI
by Ted Berrigan

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Old 02-12-2016, 01:40 PM   #10
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And now for something in a different vein.

The Definition of Love

My love is of a birth as rare
As ’tis for object strange and high;
It was begotten by Despair
Upon Impossibility.

Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing
Where feeble Hope could ne’er have flown,
But vainly flapp’d its tinsel wing.

And yet I quickly might arrive
Where my extended soul is fixt,
But Fate does iron wedges drive,
And always crowds itself betwixt.

For Fate with jealous eye does see
Two perfect loves, nor lets them close;
Their union would her ruin be,
And her tyrannic pow’r depose.

And therefore her decrees of steel
Us as the distant poles have plac’d,
(Though love’s whole world on us doth wheel)
Not by themselves to be embrac’d;

Unless the giddy heaven fall,
And earth some new convulsion tear;
And, us to join, the world should all
Be cramp’d into a planisphere.

As lines, so loves oblique may well
Themselves in every angle greet;
But ours so truly parallel,
Though infinite, can never meet.

Therefore the love which us doth bind,
But Fate so enviously debars,
Is the conjunction of the mind,
And opposition of the stars.
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Old 02-14-2016, 03:07 PM   #11
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I noticed that this poem, posted earlier, had no recording attached to it, so I did one:

Dog - Lawrence Ferlinghetti

I attempted to recreate the formatting of the poem, but I couldn't get it quite right with the limitations of posting. The Poem can be seen properly at Poetry Foundation.
Things I've written
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Old 02-14-2016, 10:04 PM   #12
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Two from Taylor Mali

Like Lilly Like Wilson


Why Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-15-2016, 12:12 AM   #13
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I couldn't resist. I apologize to those I've inflicted this on in the past. I was inspired by the dog poems.

Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House by Billy Collins

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Old 02-17-2016, 12:47 AM   #14
Silly Rabbit
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Clint Smith The Danger of Silence
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-17-2016, 01:17 AM   #15
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I'm kicking it with TED tonight and Rives popped in with If I Controlled the Internet
Here there be dragons
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Old 02-18-2016, 11:42 PM   #16
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Three sonnets

Shakespeare, Sonnet 138

Seamus Heaney, Sonnet 3, When All The Others Were Away At Mass

Billy Collins, Sonnet

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Old 03-01-2016, 08:17 PM   #17
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Charles Bukowski's The Laughing Heart

your life is your life
don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
be on the watch.
there are ways out.
there is a light somewhere.
it may not be much light but
it beats the darkness.
be on the watch.
the gods will offer you chances.
know them.
take them.
you can’t beat death but
you can beat death in life, sometimes.
and the more often you learn to do it,
the more light there will be.
your life is your life.
know it while you have it.
you are marvelous
the gods wait to delight
in you.
Here there be dragons
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Old 03-12-2016, 04:10 AM   #18
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Satan After Hours, By David Lerner

people think
Satan is a mythic beast
breathing doom and fire
laughing rapaciously as he
plucks your eyes out
a comic book ghoulie
with bad breath and a skin problem

Satan is a bus station

Satan is a cold fried egg
on a plastic plate
a cup of weak coffee beside it
while the telephone rings

Satan is the bland smile of
the cashier at the bank
when he tells you you're overdrawn
or the glittering one
on the face of the angel in the blue dress
on the tv show
making an offer you can't believe
at terms you're unable to resist

Satan is when you
run out of cigarettes and out of money
at the same time
when every part of your body hurts
and your only 36
when the miles you've logged
start showing up in the way
you laugh

in the way you count your change
when the whiskey bottle's dry
Satan is the crackle of a police radio
just after they've put the cuffs on
as they laugh about the baseball game

the color of the walls
in a county hospital emergency room
the papers they make you sign
before they'll give you medicine

the bad food you eat when you're poor
a cough that won't go away
the kind of hopes
that get pinned on a lottery

As a favour to Tsotha
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Old 04-09-2016, 07:59 PM   #19
Gerund Whore
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City in the Sea

Blessed are the cracked for it is they that let in the light
They say a smile is a gift which is free to the giver and precious to the recipient.
But giving the finger is free, too, and I find it more personal and sincere.
If at first you don't succeed....skydiving is not for you ....
If you don't pay your exorcist .... do you get repossessed?
I shall always decide not to decide, unless of course I decide to change my mind.
....But I, being poor, have only my dreams, I have spread my dreams under your feet,Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.......
Nil Caborundum illigitimi
Sestina slut
Annie submits
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