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tearing the rag off the bush again
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When Poetry is pure you wake up with it by your bed!                                
Three Works                               
Noli Me Tangere

A woman on TV says many women want larger breasts.
The evidence suggests she is correct. Every year

thousands of women undergo breast enhancement surgery,
a procedure for which there's no medical necessity

and which offers no health benefits, unless you say
there's a mental health benefit in that the women

wind up feeling better about themselves.
You have to wonder, though, about the ability to know

what's good for oneself in the first place in a person
who chooses to be cut open and have gelatinous sacs

stuffed into her. And let's not even talk about the anesthesia.
I guess the payoff is that afterward more men

pay more attention to these women, an end whose good
should be self-obvious in our endless popularity contest.

Myself, I was never in the running for Miss Congeniality.
When I see teenage girls shivering down the winter street

in a mini-skirt and heels I want to slap their mothers around.
Not that I'm against looking good when one can manage it

but I believe in putting a coat on when it's cold.
We laugh at the Victorians trapped in their prudery—

the famous shudders at the sight of the naked piano leg—
but our licentiousness has us equally entrapped.

Think of the life of the woman after her new breasts
have been unwrapped: an endless stream of men

approaching to deliver their mostly tiresome opinions
in an eager soliloquy aimed at her chest.


Daylight is ugly with all those people doing bad things
but at night there aren't as many out to mess stuff up,

leaving me to enjoy the crickets' urgent soprano.
When you both feel too much and are detached

you want to smash and be consoled for the smashing.
I had something happy to tell but now it's gone--

now there's just me, whistling in the dark.
Though it offers protection, knowing brings no peace;

still I want your secret. Tell me that lie again,
my favorite one about the word and the sword.

Fire Drill

The poet wakes up, a crowd by her bed.
They admire her clean white sheets,

her delicate head. The poet demurs,
“Oh this old thing?” when suddenly

the sun is setting. Where does the time go?
The poet for one would like to know.

But they pay no attention to her anymore.
Instead they watch the troops draw near.

The officers roar “What's happening here?”
“We know nothing about it!” and they all disappear

except for the poet and one officer.
“I can't believe you got me,” the poet rues,

but the sergeant at arms does his best
to soothe: “Give it a rest! We get

everybody! It's one of our charms!”
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