Kids

K
Sonnet for 1950 by Jack Agüeros
Jack Agüeros
All the kids came rumbling down the wood tenement
Shaky stairs, sneakers slapping against the worn
Tin tread edges, downhall came Pepo, Chino, Cojo,
Curly bursting from the door like shells exploding
Singing "I'm a Rican Doodle Dandy" and "What shall
We be today, Doctors or Junkies, Soldiers or Winos?"

Pepo put a milk crate on a Spanish Harlem johnny pump
And drops opened like paratroopers carrying war news.
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At Days Bay by James K. Baxter
James K. Baxter
To lie on a beach after
looking at old poems: how
slow untroubled by any
grouch of mine or yours, Father
Ocean tumbles in the bay
alike with solitary

divers, cripples, yelling girls
and pipestem kids. He does what
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Inventory—To 100th Street by Frank Lima
Frank Lima
To John Bernard Myers
In the corner lot
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Valentine by Paul Carroll
Paul Carroll
Our matchbox bedroom in the loft above your
sculpture factory
Turns magical at times
Behind its dark blue Druid door. Last night,
Inside you, sweetheart,
It felt as if I were coming from the soul itself.

And that Indian Summer Sunday afternoon a year
ago
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From My Window by C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
Spring: the first morning when that one true block of sweet, laminar,
complex scent arrives
from somewhere west and I keep coming to lean on the sill, glorying in
the end of the wretched winter.
The scabby-barked sycamores ringing the empty lot across the way are
budded —I hadn't noticed —
and the thick spikes of the unlikely urban crocuses have already broken
the gritty soil.
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Paradise Lost: Book  3 (1674 version) by John Milton
John Milton
HAil holy Light, ofspring of Heav'n first-born,
Or of th' Eternal Coeternal beam
May I express thee unblam'd? since God is light,
And never but in unapproached light
Dwelt from Eternitie, dwelt then in thee,
Bright effluence of bright essence increate.
Or hear'st thou rather pure Ethereal stream,
Whose Fountain who shall tell? before the Sun,
Before the Heavens thou wert, and at the voice
Of God, as with a Mantle didst invest
The rising world of waters dark and deep,
Won from the void and formless infinite.
Thee I re-visit now with bolder wing,
Escap't the Stygian Pool, though long detain'd
In that obscure sojourn, while in my flight
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Murderer Part I by Curzio Malaparte
Curzio Malaparte
I

The whole of human history …

The whole of human history
seems to be the story of men who kill,
and of men who are killed;
of murderers who light their cigarettes
with trembling hands,
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Canto XVI by Ezra Pound
Ezra Pound
And before hell mouth; dry plain
and two mountains;
On the one mountain, a running form,
and another
In the turn of the hill; in hard steel
The road like a slow screw’s thread,
The angle almost imperceptible,
so that the circuit seemed hardly to rise;
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To His Mother, Whose Name Was Maria by Attilio Bertolucci
Attilio Bertolucci
Invoked every sundown, it’s you, painted on clouds
rouging our treasured plain and all who walk it,
with leaf-fresh kids and women damp from traveling,
city-bound, in the radiance of a just-stopped shower;
it’s you, mother eternally young, courtesy of death’s
plucking hand, rose at the fragrant point of unpetaling,
you who are the alpha of every neurosis, every torturing anxiety,
and for this I give you gratitude for time past, time present, time future.

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little report of the day by Jack Collom
Jack Collom
9:13 p.m., Lucky Bock in hand,
I inscribe: walked the lovely
33 blocks to school today, streets clear and
thick melting snow all around.
taught my 4 hours of poetry; the afternoon
class was hard; kid named Schweikert
kept on fucking up. took typed-up
poems of yesterday to Platt and put up
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A Tenth Anniversary Photograph, 1952 by Miller Williams
Miller Williams
Look at their faces. You know it all.
They married the week he left for the war.
Both are gentle, intelligent people,
as all four of their parents were.

They’ve never talked about much
except the children. They love each other
but never wondered why they married
or had the kids or stayed together.
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Consequences by William Meredith
William Meredith
I. Of Choice
Despair is big with friends I love,
Hydrogen and burning jews.
I give them all the grief I have
But I tell them, friends, I choose, I choose,

Don’t make me say against my glands
Or how the world has treated me.
Though gay and modest give offense
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The Gaffe by C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
1.

If that someone who’s me yet not me yet who judges me is always with me,
as he is, shouldn’t he have been there when I said so long ago that thing I said?

If he who rakes me with such not trivial shame for minor sins now were there then,
shouldn’t he have warned me he’d even now devastate me for my unpardonable affront?

I’m a child then, yet already I’ve composed this conscience-beast, who harries me:
is there anything else I can say with certainty about who I was, except that I, that he,

could already draw from infinitesimal transgressions complex chords of remorse,
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Zebra by C. K. Williams
C. K. Williams
Kids once carried tin soldiers in their pockets as charms
against being afraid, but how trust soldiers these days
not to load up, aim, blast the pants off your legs?

I have a key-chain zebra I bought at the Thanksgiving fair.
How do I know she won't kick, or bite at my crotch?
Because she's been murdered, machine-gunned: she's dead.

Also, she's a she: even so crudely carved, you can tell
by the sway of her belly a foal's inside her.
Even murdered mothers don't hurt people, do they?

And how know she's murdered? Isn't everything murdered?
Some dictator's thugs, some rebels, some poachers;
some drought, world-drought, world-rot, pollution, extinction.
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Who Steals My Good Name by W. D. Snodgrass
W. D. Snodgrass
For the person who obtained my debit card number and spent $11,000 in five days My pale stepdaughter, just off the school bus,
Scowled, "Well, that's the last time I say my name's
Snodgrass!" Just so, may that anonymous
Mexican male who prodigally claims
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Blasting from Heaven by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
The little girl won’t eat her sandwich;
she lifts the bun and looks in, but the grey beef
coated with relish is always there.
Her mother says, “Do it for mother.”
Milk and relish and a hard bun that comes off
like a hat—a kid’s life is a cinch.

And a mother’s life? “What can you do
with a man like that?” she asks the sleeping cook
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The Canticle of Jack Kerouac by Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
1.

Far from the sea far from the sea
of Breton fishermen
the white clouds scudding
over Lowell
and the white birches the
bare white birches
along the blear night roads
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Counselors by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
Whom should I consult? Philosophers
Are happy in their homes and seminars.
See this one with the mischievous bright childlike
Gaze going out through walls and air,
A tangent to the bent rays of the star.
Hear the chalk splutter, hear the groping voice:
Conceive the demiurge in his perpetual
Strife with the chaos of the universe,
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Danger of Falling by Patricia Goedicke
Patricia Goedicke
The way calcium grows

all by itself into bone, microscopic
fraction attaches itself to fraction

or clouds crystallize, or blizzards congeal into hard
ice on aluminum wings,

even the astronauts’ bodysuits can’t cover up
the sheer strangeness of it, the extraordinary being-here

or anywhere, the skin of the plane could easily peel back
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A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
DORINDA
When death shall part us from these kids,
And shut up our divided lids,
Tell me, Thyrsis, prithee do,
Whither thou and I must go.

THYRSIS
To the Elysium.

DORINDA
Oh, where is’t?

THYRSIS
A chaste soul can never miss’t.

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An Emeritus Addresses the School by John Ciardi
John Ciardi
No one can wish nothing.
Even that death wish sophomores
are nouveau-glib about
reaches for a change of notice.

“I’ll have you know,” it will say
thirty years later to its son,
“I was once widely recognized
for the quality of my death wish.”
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Forgotten of the Foot by Anne Stevenson
Anne Stevenson
Equisetum, horsetail, railway weed
Laid down in the unconscious of the hills;
Three hundred million years still buried

In this hair-soft surviving growth that kills
Everything in the glorious garden except itself,
That thrives on starvation, and distils

Black diamonds, the carboniferous shelf —
That was life before our animals,
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Herbert White by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
"When I hit her on the head, it was good,

and then I did it to her a couple of times,—
but it was funny,—afterwards,
it was as if somebody else did it...

Everything flat, without sharpness, richness or line.

Still, I liked to drive past the woods where she lay,
tell the old lady and the kids I had to take a piss,
hop out and do it to her...
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High Windows by Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
When I see a couple of kids
And guess he’s fucking her and she’s
Taking pills or wearing a diaphragm,
I know this is paradise

Everyone old has dreamed of all their lives—
Bonds and gestures pushed to one side
Like an outdated combine harvester,
And everyone young going down the long slide
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The Hook by Theodore Weiss
Theodore Weiss
I

The students, lost in raucousness,
caught as by the elder Breughel’s eye,
we sit in the college store
over sandwiches and coffee, wondering.
She answers eagerly: the place was fine;
sometimes the winds grew very cold,
the snows so deep and wide she lost
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Hymn to Life by James Schuyler
James Schuyler
The wind rests its cheek upon the ground and feels the cool damp
And lifts its head with twigs and small dead blades of grass
Pressed into it as you might at the beach rise up and brush away
The sand. The day is cool and says, “I’m just staying overnight.”
The world is filled with music, and in between the music, silence
And varying the silence all sorts of sounds, natural and man made:
There goes a plane, some cars, geese that honk and, not here, but
Not so far away, a scream so rending that to hear it is to be
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The Instruction Manual by John Ashbery
John Ashbery
As I sit looking out of a window of the building
I wish I did not have to write the instruction manual on the uses of a new metal.
I look down into the street and see people, each walking with an inner peace,
And envy them—they are so far away from me!
Not one of them has to worry about getting out this manual on schedule.
And, as my way is, I begin to dream, resting my elbows on the desk and leaning out of the window a little,
Of dim Guadalajara! City of rose-colored flowers!
City I wanted most to see, and most did not see, in Mexico!
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Mugging (I) by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
I

Tonite I walked out of my red apartment door on East tenth street’s dusk—
Walked out of my home ten years, walked out in my honking neighborhood
Tonite at seven walked out past garbage cans chained to concrete anchors
Walked under black painted fire escapes, giant castiron plate covering a hole in ground
—Crossed the street, traffic lite red, thirteen bus roaring by liquor store,
past corner pharmacy iron grated, past Coca Cola & Mylai posters fading scraped on brick
Past Chinese Laundry wood door’d, & broken cement stoop steps For Rent hall painted green & purple Puerto Rican style
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A New York Child’s Garden of Verses by Franklin Pierce Adams
Franklin Pierce Adams
(With the usual.) I

In winter I get up at night,
And dress by an electric light.
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On the Loss of Energy (and Other Things) by June Jordan
June Jordan
no more the chicken and the egg come

one of them
before the other
both
be fadin (steady)
from the supersafeway/a&p/giant
circus

uh-huh
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Passages from Virgil’s First Georgic by Robert Fitzgerald
Robert Fitzgerald
I. Until Jove let it be, no colonist
Mastered the wild earth; no land was marked,
None parceled out or shared; but everyone
Looked for his living in the common world.

And Jove gave poison to the blacksnakes, and
Made the wolves ravage, made the ocean roll,
Knocked honey from the leaves, took fire away—
So man might beat out various inventions
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Sad Wine (I) by Cesare Pavese
Cesare Pavese
It’s a fine fact that whenever I sit in a tavern corner
sipping a grappa, the pederast’s there, or the kids
with their screaming, or the unemployed guy,
or some beautiful girl outside—all breaking
the thread of my smoke. That’s how it is, kid,
I’m telling it straight, I work at Lucento.
But that voice, that sorrowful voice of the old man
(forty-ish, maybe?) who shook my hand
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Third Avenue in Sunlight by Anthony Hecht
Anthony Hecht
Third Avenue in sunlight. Nature’s error.
Already the bars are filled and John is there.
Beneath a plentiful lady over the mirror
He tilts his glass in the mild mahogany air.

I think of him when he first got out of college,
Serious, thin, unlikely to succeed;
For several months he hung around the Village,
Boldly T-shirted, unfettered but unfreed.
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This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin
Philip Larkin
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another’s throats.
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To the Garbage Collectors in Bloomington, Indiana, the First Pickup of the New Year by Philip Appleman
Philip Appleman
(the way bed is in winter, like an aproned lap,
like furry mittens,
like childhood crouching under tables)
The Ninth Day of Xmas, in the morning black
outside our window: clattering cans, the whir
of a hopper, shouts, a whistle, move on ...
I see them in my warm imagination
the way I’ll see them later in the cold,
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Translations from the English by George Starbuck
George Starbuck
for Arthur Freeman Pigfoot (with Aces Under) Passes

The heat’s on the hooker.
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the weather is hot on the back of my watch by Charles Bukowski
Charles Bukowski
the weather is hot on the back of my watch
which is down at Finkelstein’s
who is gifted with 3 balls
but no heart, but you’ve got to understand
when the bull goes down
on the whore, the heart is laid aside for something else,
and let’s not over-rate the obvious decency
for in a crap game you may be cutting down
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Debridement by Michael S. Harper
Michael S. Harper
Debridement
Black men are oaks cut down.

Congressional Medal of Honor Society
United States of America chartered by
Congress, August 14, 1958; this certifies
that STAC John Henry Louis is a member
of this society.

“Don’t ask me anything about the
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Lines on Locks (or Jail and the Erie Canal) by John Logan
John Logan
1

Against the low, New York State
mountain background, a smokestack
sticks up
and gives out
its snakelike wisp.
Thin, stripped win-
ter birches pick up the vertical lines.
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Poem for Christian, My Student by Gail Mazur
Gail Mazur
He reminds me of someone I used to know,
but who? Before class,
he comes to my office to shmooze,
a thousand thousand pointless interesting
speculations. Irrepressible boy,
his assignments are rarely completed,
or actually started. This week, instead
of research in the stacks, he’s performing
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Shore Scene by John Logan
John Logan
There were bees about. From the start I thought
The day was apt to hurt. There is a high
Hill of sand behind the sea and the kids
Were dropping from the top of it like schools
Of fish over falls, cracking skulls on skulls.
I knew the holiday was hot. I saw
The August sun teeming in the bodies
Logged along the beach and felt the yearning
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Sway by Louis Simpson
Louis Simpson
Swing and sway with Sammy Kaye Everyone at Lake Kearney had a nickname:
there was a Bumstead, a Tonto, a Tex,
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Troop Train by Karl Shapiro
Karl Shapiro
It stops the town we come through. Workers raise
Their oily arms in good salute and grin.
Kids scream as at a circus. Business men
Glance hopefully and go their measured way.
And women standing at their dumbstruck door
More slowly wave and seem to warn us back,
As if a tear blinding the course of war
Might once dissolve our iron in their sweet wish.
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The Voyage Home by Philip Appleman
Philip Appleman
The social instincts ...
naturally lead to the golden rule.
—CHARLES DARWIN, The Descent of Man 1
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Voyages by Hart Crane
Hart Crane
I

Above the fresh ruffles of the surf
Bright striped urchins flay each other with sand.
They have contrived a conquest for shell shucks,
And their fingers crumble fragments of baked weed
Gaily digging and scattering.

And in answer to their treble interjections
The sun beats lightning on the waves,
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Yesterdays by Robert Creeley
Robert Creeley
Sixty-two, sixty-three, I most remember
As time W. C. Williams dies and we are
Back from a hard two years in Guatemala
Where the meager provision of being
Schoolmaster for the kids of the patrones
Of two coffee plantations has managed
Neither a life nor money. Leslie dies in
Horror of bank giving way as she and her
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My Brother the Artist, at Seven by Philip Levine
Philip Levine
As a boy he played alone in the fields
behind our block, six frame houses
holding six immigrant families,
the parents speaking only gibberish
to their neighbors. Without the kids
they couldn't say "Good morning" and be
understood. Little wonder
he learned early to speak to himself,
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