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BREAKFAST

I HATE POETRY
He put the coffee

In the cup
I hate poetry He put the milk
the way a junky hates the fix In the coffee cup
he can’t afford He put the sugar
and will have to hustle for In the milk coffee
and often enough With the spoon
won’t even get a rush from, He stirred
just to keep off the horrors for another hour. He drank the milk coffee
I hate poetry And he put down the cup
the way a married couple Without speaking to me
who don’t believe in divorce He lit
hate each other. A cigarette
I hate poetry He made rings
the way Alcoholics Anonymous With the smoke
hates liquor He put the ashes
and has meetings about it. In the ashtray
I hate poetry Without speaking to me
the way an atheist hates God Without looking at me
and shakes his fist He got up
at the empty hole in the sky. He put
And the more poetry I hear His hat on his head
the more I hate it He put on his raincoat
and the more I write it. Because it was raining
Here I am. And he left
JULIA VINOGRAD Without a word
Without looking at me.
And me, I took
My head in my hands
And I wept.


JACQUES PRÉVERT

Fence-Posts

The small white car parked on the red-dirt track;
the low shading hills; the weak,
glaring sun in a sky gone grey; gums pocking the hillside
both banks of the creek. your gaze drags across this.

You’re thinking, or half-feeling, than an inheritance,
or something else, lies in the shallow hills
past the grey fence-posts and raggedy wire –
resigned to knowing nothing ith certainty.

Standing in the road-side grass, the smell of gums
in the dry breeze fills your lungs. A crop of cirrus
clears in the wind, swirling in another direction.
You think you’ve forgotten the handbrake, and head back,

turning your heel on a tussock of grass.
You don’t notice as the grass folds back again,
the sun falling across it, and your shadow
trailing on the ground behind you.


Greg McLaren
THE PROBLEM OF DESCRIBING COLOUR

If I said – remembering in summer,
DO NOT GO GENTLE INTO THE GOOD NIGHT The cardinal’s sudden smudge of red

In the bare gray winter woods—
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day; If I said, red ribbon on the cocked straw hat
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Of the girl with pooched-out lips
Dangling a wiry lapdog
Though wise men at their end know dark is right, In the painting by Renoir—
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into the good night. If I said fire, if I said blood welling from a cut—

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright Or flecks of poppy in the tar-grass scented summer air
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay, On a wind-struck hillside outside Fano—
Rage, rage against the dying of the light


If I said, her one red earring tugging at her silky lobe,
Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,

And learn, too late, they grieved on its way,
Do not go gentle into the good night. If she tells fortunes with a deck of fallen leaves
Until it comes out right—
Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rouged nipple, mouth—
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
(How could you not love a woma
And you, my father, there on the sad height, who cheats at the Tarot?)
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gently into that good night. Red, I said. Sudden, red.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Robert Hass

Dylan Thomas
BECAUSE I COULD NOT STOP FOR DEATH
AFTERNOON IN SCHOOL
Because I could not stop for Death –
THE LAST LESSON He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
When will the bell ring, and end this weariness? And Immortality.
How long have they tugged the lease, and strained apart
My pack of unruly hounds; I cannot start We slowly drove – He knew no haste
Them again on a quarry of knowledge they hate to hunt, And I had put away
I can hall them and urge them no more. My labour and my leisure too,
No more can I endure to bear the brunt For His Civility –
Of the books that lie out on the desks: a full three score
Of several insults of blotted pages and scrawl We passed the School, where Children strove
Of slovenly work that they have offered me. At Recess – in the Ring –
I am sick, and tired more than any thrall We passed the Fields of Gazing Grain –
Upon the woodstacks working weariedly. We passed the Setting Sun –

And shall I take Or rather – He passed us –
The last dear fuel and heap it on my soul The Dews drew quivering and chill –
Till I rouse my will like a fire to consume For only Gossamer my Gown –
Their dross of indifference, and burn the scroll My Tippet – only Tulle –
Of their insults in punishment? – I will not!
We paused before a House that seemed
I will not waste myself to embers for them,
A swelling of the Ground –
Not all for them shall the fires of my life be hot,
The Roof was scarcely visible –
For myself a heap of ashes of weariness, till sleep
The Cornice – in the Ground –
Shall have raked my embers clear: I will keep

Some of my strength for myself, for if I should sell Since then – ‘tis Centuries – and yet
It all for them, I should hate them – Feels shorter than the Day
- I will sit and wait for the bell. I first surmised the Horses’ Heads
D.H. Lawrence Were toward Eternity –

Emily Dickinson
ODE TO AUTUMN

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;
To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For Summer has o'er-brimmed their clammy cell.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?
DREAMS
Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, Hold fast to dreams
Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind; For if dreams die
Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep, Life is a broken-winged bird
Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook That cannot fly.
Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep Hold fast to dreams
Steady thy laden head across a brook; For when dreams go
Or by a cider-press, with patient look, Life is a barren field
Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours. Frozen with snow

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?
Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--- Langston Hughes
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day,
And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir, the small gnats mourn
Among the river sallows, borne aloft
Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;
Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, We Real Cool
And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.
We real cool.
John Keats We Left school.

We Lurk late.
We Strike straight.

We Sing sin.
We Thin gin.
We Jazz June.
We Die soon.
IOWA, JANUARY
Gwendolyn Brooks
In the long winter nights, a farmer’s dreams are narrow
Over and over, he enters the furrow.

Robert Hass
the area of pause

you have to have it or the walls will close
in.
you have to give everything up, throw it be kind
away, everything away.
you have to look at what you look at we are always asked
or think what you think to understand the other person’s
or do what you do viewpoint
or no matter how
don’t do out-dated
without considering a personal foolish or
advantage obnoxious.
without accepting guidance.
one is asked
people are worn away with to view
striving, their total error
they hide in common their life-waste
habits. with
their concerns are herd kindness,
concerns. especially if they are
aged.
few have the ability to stare
at an old shoe for but age is the total of
ten minutes our doing.
or to think of odd things they have aged
like who invented the badly
doorknob? because they have
lived
they become unalive out of focus,
because they are unable to they have refused to
pause see.
undo themselves
unkink not their fault?
unsee
unlearn whose fault?
roll clear. mine?

listen to their untrue I am asked to hid
laughter, then my viewpoint
walk from them
away. for fear of their
fear.
Charles Bukowski
age is no crime

but the shame
of a deliberately
wasted
life

among so many
deliberately
wasted
lives

is.


Charles Bukowski


GUS THE THEATRE CAT

Gus is the Cat the the Theatre Door.
Then, if someone will give him a toothful of gin,
His name, as I ought to have told you before, He will tell how he once played a part in East Lynne.
Is really Asparagus. That’s such a fuss At a Shakespeare performance he once walked on pat,
To pronounce, that we usually call him just Gus. When some actor suggested the need for a cat.
His coat’s very shabby, he’s thin as a rake, He once played a Tiger--could do it again--
And he suffers from palsy that makes his paw shake. Which an Indian Colonel pursued down a drain.
Yet he was, in his youth, quite the smartest of Cats— And he thinks that he still can, much better than most,
But no longer a terror to mice and rats. Produce blood-curdling noises to bring on the Ghost.
For he isn’t the Cat that he was in his prime; And he once crossed the stage on a telegraph wire,
Though his name was quite famous, he says, in its To rescue a child when a house was on fire.
time. And he says: "Now then kittens, they do not get trained
And whenever he joins his friends at their club As we did in the days when Victoria reigned.
(Which takes place at the back of the neighbouring They never get drilled in a regular troupe,
pub) And they think they are smart, just to jump through a
He loves to regale them, if someone else pays, hoop."
With anecdotes drawn from his palmiest days. And he'll say, as he scratches himself with his claws,
He has acted with Irving, he’s acted with Tree. "Well, the Theatre's certainly not what it was.
And he likes to relate his success on the Halls, These modern productions are all very well,
Where the Gallery once gave him seven cat-calls. But there's nothing to equal, from what I hear tell,
But his grandest creation, as he loves to tell, That moment of mystery
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell. When I made history
As Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."
"I have played," so he says, "every possible part,
And I used to know seventy speeches by heart. T.S Eliot
I'd extemporize back-chat, I knew how to gag,
And I knew how to let the cat out of the bag.

I knew how to act with my back and my tail;
With an hour of rehearsal, I never could fail.
I'd a voice that would soften the hardest of hearts,
Whether I took the lead, or in character parts.
I have sat by the bedside of poor Little Nell;
When the Curfew was rung, then I swung on the bell.
In the Pantomime season I never fell flat,
And I once understudied Dick Whittington's Cat.
But my grandest creation, as history will tell,
Was Firefrorefiddle, the Fiend of the Fell."


WE REMEMBER YOUR CHILDHOOD WELL
Haikus are easy
Nobody hurt you. Nobody turned off the light and argued
with somebody else all night. The bad man on the moors
But sometimes they don’t make sense
was only a movie you saw. Nobody locked the door. Refrigerator

Your questions were answered fully. No. That didn’t occur.
You couldn’t sing anyway, cared less. The moment’s a blue, a Film Fun
laughing itself to death in the coal fire. Anyone’s guess.

Haiku – The Fox
Nobody forced you. You wanted to go that day. Begged. You chose
the dress. Here are the pictures, look at you. Look at us all,
The beautiful fox
smiling and waving, younger. The whole thing is inside your head.
So fast and sly, the trickster

Creeping in the night
What you recall are impressions; we have the facts. We called the tune.
The secret police of your childhood were older and wiser than you, bigger Livia C. Delven
than you. Call back the sound of their voices. Boom. Boom. Boom.

Nobody sent you away. That was an extra holiday, with people
you seemed to like. They were firm, but there was nothing to fear.
There was none but yourself to blame if it ended in tears.

What does it matter now? No, no, nobody let the skidmarks of sin
on your soul and laid you wide open for Hell. You were loved.
Always. We did what was best. We remember your childhood well.

Carol Ann Duffy

FORGETFULNESS

The name of the author is first to go
followed obediently by the title, the plot, LOLITA
the heartbreaking conclusion, the entire novel Vladimir Nabokov
which suddenly becomes one you have never read,
never even heard of, Lecherous linguist –
he lays low and is laid low
as if, one by one, the memories you used to harbor after laying Lo.
decided to retire to the southern hemisphere of the brain,
to a little fishing village where there are no phones.

Long ago you kissed the names of the nine Muses goodbye
And watched the quadratic equation pack its bag,
And even now as you memorize the order of the planets,

Something else is slipping away, a state flower perhaps,
The address of an uncle, the capital or Paraguay.
WUTHERING HEIGHTS
Whatever is it you are struggling to remember,
Emily Brontë
it is not poised on the tip of your tongue,
not even lurking in some obscure corner of your spleen

Wild. Strange. A bit damp.

Heathcliff waits for Cathy’s ghost.
It has floated away down a dark mythological river
Women. Always late.
whose name begins with Las far as you can recall,
well on your own way to oblivion where you will join those
who have even forgotten how to swim and how to ride a bicycle.

No wonder your rise in the middle of the night
to look up the date of a famous battle in a book on war.
No wonder the moon in the window sees to have drifted
out of a love poem that you used to know by heart.

BILLY COLLINS
IN THE PINES

As kids we were told not to stand underneath the powerlines. We
were told that their magnetic pull would scramble our brains. We
rode our bikes to the powerlines in secret, lay under them and
listened to that restless hum of electricity. Lines stretched out like
track marks against the sky. At night in the back seat of the car on
the way home we sent our tint dreams hurtling down those wires
to the city. When we shut our eyes we could see the lights flickering
on in building like hundreds of eyes opening. Our house had no
curtains. When it stormed the lightning tore down the passageway
and into the bedrooms. And the rain at night on the tin roof. From
our beds we could see the city far away through the trees. One
winter a brother and a sister killed themselves in the pine plantation
up the road. They left a note on the kitchen table. It said that they
were leaving to be with Kurt Cobain. In the pines, when the sun
don’t ever shine. At dinner Dad made us put down our knives and
forks and listen. He said nothing, nothing, is ever so bad that it has
to come to that. I was eleven. My brothers were nine. We ate the
rest of our dinner in silence. The next day we rode our bikes up to
the pine plantation. A policeman stopped us on the road, told us
to go home. We road back towards home. We sat for a long time
under the powerlines, watching the city, watching the dark start to
creep across the sky
Ella Holcombe





ALL FALLS DOWN


Man I promise, she's so self-conscious
She has no idea what she's doing in college
That major that she majored in don't make no money
But she won't drop out, her parents will look at her funny
Now, tell me that ain't insecurr
The concept of school seems so secure
Sophomore, three yurrs, ain't picked a carurr
She like, fuck it, I'll just stay down here and do hair
Cause that's enough money to buy her a few pairs of new Airs
Cause her baby-daddy don't really care
She's so precious with the peer pressure
Couldn't afford a car so she named her daughter Alexis
She had hair so long that it looked like weavE
Then she cut it all off, now she look like Eve
And she be dealin' with some issues that you can't believe
Single black female addicted to retail, and well

KANYE WEST
ALPHABET AEROBICS

Artificial amateurs, aren't at all amazing
Analytically, I assault, animate things
Broken barriers bounded by the bomb beat
Buildings are broken, basically I'm bombarding
Casually create catastrophes, casualties
Canceling cats got their canopies collapsing
Detonate a dime of dank daily doing dough
Demonstrations, Don Dada on the down low
Eating other editors with each and every energetic
Epileptic episode, elevated etiquette
Furious fat fabulous fantastic
Flurries of funk felt feeding the fanatics
Gift got great global goods gone glorious
Getting godly in his game with the goriest
Hit em high, hella height, historical
Hey holocaust hints hear 'em holler at your homeboy
Imitators idolize, I intimidate
In an instant, I'll rise in an irate state
Juiced on my jams like jheri curls jocking joints
Justly, it's just me, writing my journals
Kindly I'm kindling all kinds of ink on
Karate kick type brits in my kingdom
Let me live a long life, lyrically lessons is
Learned lame louses just lose to my livery
My mind makes marvelous moves, masses
Marvel and move, many mock what I've mastered
Niggas nap knowing I'm nice naturally
Knack, never lack, make noise nationally
Operation, opposition, off not optional
Out of sight, out of mind, wide beaming opticals
Perfected poem, powerful punch lines
Pummeling petty powder puffs in my prime
Quite quaint quotes keep quiet it's Quantum
Quarrelers ain't got a quarter of what we got uh
Really raw raps, rising up rapidly
Riding the rushing radioactivity
Super scientifical sound search sought
Silencing super fire saps that are soft
Tales ten times talented, too tough
Take that, challengers, get a tune up
Universal, unique untouched
Unadulterated, the raw uncut
Verb vice lord victorious valid
Violate vibes that are vain make em vanished
While I'm all well what a wise wordsmith just
Weaving up words, weeded up on my work shift
Xerox, my X-radiation holes extra large
X-height letters, and xylophone tones
Yellow back, yak mouth, young ones yaws
Yesterday's lawn yard sell our yawn
Zig zag zombies, zoom in to the zenith
Zero in zen thoughts, overzealous rhyme ZEALOTS

Blackalicious
Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer’s lease hath all too short a date.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fad,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shad,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare

Sonnet 116

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no! it is an ever fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark,
Whose worth’s unknown, although his height be taken.
Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.

William Shakespeare
ANOTHER ONE

LOVE POEM. When you’re a child you learn there are three dimensions

We have plenty of matches in our house Height, width and depth

We keep them on hand always Like a shoebox

Currently our favourite brand Then later you hear there’s a fourth dimension

Is Ohio Blue Tip Time

Though we used to prefer Diamond Brand Hmm

That was before we discovered Then some say there can be five, six, seven…

Ohio Blue Tip matches
I knock off work
They are excellently packaged
Have a beer at the bar
Sturdy little boxes
I look down at the glass and feel glad
With dark and light blue and white labels

With words lettered

In the shape of a megaphone

As if to say even louder to the world

Here is the most beautiful match in the world

It’s one-and-a-half-inch soft pine stem

Capped by a grainy dark purple head

So sober and furious and stubbornly ready

To burst into flame

Lighting, perhaps the cigarette of the woman you love

For the first time

And it was never really the same after that POEM
I’m in the house
All this will we give you
It’s nice out
That is what you gave me
Warm
I become the cigarette and you the match
Sun on cold snow
Or I the match and you the cigarette
First day of spring
Blazing with kisses that smoulder towards heaven
Or last day of winter

My legs run up the stairs

And out the door

My top half here writing