Am I Pretty?

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Am I Pretty?

Oh, Mama, that's not what I mean. 
What I mean is: am I pretty? 

I've already told you, yes. 
Now that's enough of that. 
You have a nice young pretty face. 
I never heard of such foolishness.

But, Mama, you've got to say something about me. 
Am I pretty enough.to get anybody...
to get people interested in me? 
 
Emily, you make me tired. Now stop it. 
You're pretty enough for all normal purposes 

Oh, Mama, you're no help at all.

from "Our Town" by Thornton Wilder

. . . j 

Grand Jury

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Grand Jury


Once the facts,

presented as 
evidence mind you,

the DNA and whatnot,

cell phone pings and

smoking or bloodstained 
weapon,

have been gathered,

sifted,

like Murderer’s Flour,

examined,

minutely,
microscopically,

there remains 

but one more 

step to take.

Someone needs
to be blamed.


from the Senses and More Such collection
. . . j

Grammar Lesson

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Grammar Lesson

Keep. She kept.
(verb) Her distance
from others.

Sleep. She slept.
(verb) In cotton 
jammies.

Sweep. She swept.
(verb) The kitchen 
floor.

Deep? Rivers are not dept.
(adjective) Unlike leap 
and leapt. 

Weep. Yes. She wept.
(verb) Ha! Not weepest.
Save to a pretend poet.

Steep? Hills are not stept.
(adjective) Jack and Jill
are not mountain goats.

Creep. Our teacher crept.
(verb) But not on little cat’s feet
like the fog.

Creep? Our neighbor is a crept.
(noun) No. Perhaps he is 
though if he creeps about. 

What have we learned today?
What our eager ears taught us long ago
and our fresh minds put in proper order.

Go thy merry way then and be kind to all.


from the Senses and More Such Collection

. . . j

I’m Scared Of It All

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I'm Scared Of It All

I’m scared of it all, God’s truth! So I am;
It’s too big and brutal for me.
My nerve’s on the raw and I don’t give a damn
For all the “hoorah” that I see.
I’m pinned between subway and overhead train,
Where automobillies swoop down:
Oh, I want to go back to the timber again—
I’m scared of the terrible town.

Robert Service

. . . j

Red-tailed Odyssey

Red-tailed Odyssey

It was then Death called out to her.
First it flirted, and then courted her.
Death beckoned with a bony,
featherless wing.

Do nothing, friend Lily, Death whispered.

You are safe with me, dear Lily, Death cooed.

Come to me, my darling Lily, Death coaxed.

Lily awoke and struggled, freed herself 
of the ghastly embrace.
Death and darkness lurked below-- 
Light and life beckoned from above.

Chapter 15
. . . j

Bygone Car Talk

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Bygone Car Talk

Mornin’, Tom. 
How goes it?

Good as gold. 
What’s new?

Not a thing. 
‘nother hot one, looks like.

Fill ‘er up?

Sure. 

You bet. Check the oil?

‘preciate it.

You’re down near a quart.

Not surprised. 
These Chevys do like oil.
Add some 10-30, will yuh?

Okeedokee. 
Lemme check those tires too. 
Right rear looks a bit low.

Thanks. It’s them dang potholes.
No end to ‘em. 
Worthless politicians.

You got that right.
Lemme get that windshield.

What do I owe yuh, Dave?

Four-fifty.
Handle a twenty?

Think so.
You collectin’ green stamps?

Wife is.
She’s a collectin’ machine.

I’ll get you some. 
Be right back.

Here you are, Tom.
Fifteen-fifty and the stamps.

Thanks, Dave.
Have a good one.

Will do.
You too.
See yuh.

. . . j

Eden Rock

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Eden Rock

Eden Rock

They are waiting for me somewhere beyond Eden Rock:
My father, twenty-five, in the same suit
Of Genuine Irish Tweed, his terrier Jack
Still two years old and trembling at his feet.

My mother, twenty-three, in a sprigged dress
Drawn at the waist, ribbon in her straw hat,
Has spread the stiff white cloth over the grass.
Her hair, the colour of wheat, takes on the light.

She pours tea from a Thermos, the milk straight
From an old H.P. Sauce bottle, a screw
Of paper for a cork; slowly sets out
The same three plates, the tin cups painted blue.

The sky whitens as if lit by three suns.
My mother shades her eyes and looks my way
Over the drifted stream. My father spins
A stone along the water. Leisurely,

They beckon to me from the other bank.
I hear them call, ‘See where the stream-path is!
Crossing is not as hard as you might think.’

I had not thought that it would be like this.

Charles Causley

. . . j