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Dressed In Green by Peter Krass

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“ALL DRESSED IN GREEN”

In the latest issue of Quagmire I find 7 new poems by Billy Collins.
In the new Kiss My Quarterly, 12 poems by Billy Collins.
Coming soon in Broken Meter, 18 poems by Billy Collins.
On NPR radio, Billy Collins reads “Wish I’d Written That.”
In my sleep, Billy Collins stars in a major motion picture
Directed by Billy Collins, produced by Billy Collins,
And featuring a supporting cast of thousands of Billy Collinses.

Tonight, at my local Barnes & Starbucks,
Billy Collins is giving a reading,
So naturally I go, all dressed in green,
Color of envy, money and snot.
Other striving poets fill nearly every seat,
Each wearing something green,
Each moving their lips as they quietly pray,
“O gods of poetry, whoever you are,
Please let a magic morsel fly
From the mouth of Billy Collins
And infect me, like a virus,
With whatever he has: The virus
Of being published,
The virus of selling books,
The virus of success.”
I sneer at them: “Stupid poets,”
I say, “That’s not how life works.”
But when Billy Collins appears at last,
Smiling and nodding, clearing his throat,
I find my seat in the very front row,
Open my mouth as wide as it goes,
And breathe.
Peter Krass
—from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor

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Diagnosis by Sharon Olds

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“Diagnosis”

By the time I was six months old, she knew something
was wrong with me. I got looks on my face
she had not seen on any child
in the family, or the extended family,
or the neighborhood. My mother took me in
to the pediatrician with the kind hands,
a doctor with a name like a suit size for a wheel:
Hub Long. My mom did not tell him
what she thought in truth, that I was Possessed.
It was just these strange looks on my face—
he held me, and conversed with me,
chatting as one does with a baby, and my mother
said, She’s doing it now! Look!
She’s doing it now! and the doctor said,
What your daughter has
is called a sense
of humor. Ohhh, she said, and took me
back to the house where that sense would be tested
and found to be incurable.

“Diagnosis” by Sharon Olds, from One Secret Thing. © Random House, Inc., 2009.

Poem for Today

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“Kidnap Poem” By Nikki Giovanni
Ever been kidnapped
by a poet
if i were a poet
i’d kidnap you
put you in my phrases and meter
You to jones beach
or maybe coney island
or maybe just to my house
lyric you in lilacs
dash you in the rain
blend into the beach
to complement my see
Play the lyre for you
ode you with my love song
anything to win you
wrap you in the red Black green
show you off to mama
yeah if i were a poet i’d kid
nap you

Poem for Today

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The Pitcher

His art is eccentricity, his aim
How not to hit the mark he seems to aim at,

His passion how to avoid the obvious,
His technique how to vary the avoidance.

The others throw to be comprehended. He
Throws to be a moment misunderstood.

Yet not too much. Not errant, arrant, wild,
But every seeming aberration willed.

Not to, yet still, still to communicate
Making the batter understand too late.

—-Robert Francis

Poem for Today

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separationwsmervinstitchpicture“Separation”
Your absence has gone through me
Like thread through a needle.
Everything I do is stitched with its color.

W. S. MERWIN

Poem for Today

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“Abandoned Farmhouse”
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.

A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.

Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm—a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.

TED KOOSER

Poem for Today

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‘The Tunnel”

A man has been standing
in front of my house
for days. I peek at him
from the living room
window and at night,
unable to sleep,
I shine my flashlight
down on the lawn.
He is always there.

After a while
I open the front door
just a crack and order
him out of my yard.
He narrows his eyes
and moans. I slam
the door and dash back
to the kitchen, then up
to the bedroom, then down.

I weep like a child
and make obscene gestures
through the window. I
write large suicide notes
and place them so he
can read them easily.
I destroy the living
room furniture to prove
I own nothing of value.
When he seems unmoved
I decide to dig a tunnel
to a neighboring yard.
I seal the basement off
from the upstairs with
a brick wall. I dig hard
and in no time the tunnel
is done. Leaving my pick
and shovel below,

I come out in front of a house
and stand there too tired to
move or even speak, hoping
someone will help me.
I feel I’m being watched
and sometimes I hear
a man’s voice,
but nothing is done
and I have been waiting for days.

Mark Strand

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