Murder

M
What Shall We Tell Our Children? An Addenda, 1973 by Margaret Burroughs
Margaret Burroughs
A lot of water has passed under the bridge since 1963. Then, my concernwas particularly for my own people and this version was written especially for them. I am happy that it has done and is doing its job. However, I want it to be known, that I am not a proponent of the concept of cultural nationalism. I dearly love and am proud of my good, serious, sincere black people, yet at the same time, my concern is with all people of goodwill no matter the color. I make no mystique of blackness. I am a humanist. Indeed, I am auniversalist. This truth, I know. The liberation of black people in the United States is tightly linked with the liberation of black people in the far flungdiaspora. Further, and more important, the liberation of black and oppressed people all over the world, is linked with the struggles of the workers of the world of every nationality and color against the common oppressors, overlords, and exploiters of their labor.
Thus it was only natural that I should write "What Shall We Tell Our Children?" in 1973. I have tried to tell them the facts of life and the truth as I see it:
I hope I have succeeded.
What shall we tell our children who are black?
What shall we tell our children who are white?
What shall we tell children of every race and hue?
For all children are the children of all of us
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Silences by Stanley Moss
Stanley Moss
Good morning, electorate.
We are on good speaking terms
but do not speak, which means
we must be self-reliant,
there are many matters at hand.
We’re not close enough to know each other’s
good news, bad news, private matters.

There are silent streets off public gardens
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Staggerlee wonders by James Baldwin
James Baldwin
1

I always wonder
what they think the niggers are doing
while they, the pink and alabaster pragmatists,
are containing
Russia
and defining and re-defining and re-aligning
China,
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Ballad of Orange and Grape by Muriel Rukeyser
Muriel Rukeyser
After you finish your work
after you do your day
after you've read your reading
after you've written your say –
you go down the street to the hot dog stand,
one block down and across the way.
On a blistering afternoon in East Harlem in the twentieth
century.
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Speech: “Is this a dagger which I see before me” by William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare
(from Macbeth, spoken by Macbeth) Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
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Blue Grace by Philip Lamantia
Philip Lamantia

crashes thru air
where Lady LSD hangs up all the floors of life for the last time
Blue Grace leans on white slime
Blue Grace weaves in & out of Lüneburg and ‘My Burial Vault’ undulates
from first hour peyote turnon
Diderot hand in hand with the Marquis de Sade
wraps himself up in a mexican serapé
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Darwin by Lorine Niedecker
Lorine Niedecker

I
His holy
slowly
mulled over
matter

not all “delirium
of delight”
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Desert by Adonis
Adonis
The cities dissolve, and the earth is a cart loaded with dust
Only poetry knows how to pair itself to this space.

No road to this house, a siege,
and his house is graveyard.
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Saturday Market by Charlotte Mew
Charlotte Mew
Bury your heart in some deep green hollow
Or hide it up in a kind old tree;
Better still, give it the swallow
When she goes over the sea.

In Saturday’s Market there’s eggs a ’plenty
And dead-alive ducks with their legs tied down,
Grey old gaffers and boys of twenty—
Girls and the women of the town—
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A History Without Suffering by E. A. Markham
E. A. Markham
In this poem there is no suffering.
It spans hundreds of years and records
no deaths, connecting when it can,
those moments where people are healthy

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Me by Amrita Pritam
Amrita Pritam
Lots of contemporaries—
but “me” is not my contemporary.

My birth without “me”
was a blemished offering on the collection plate.
A moment of flesh, imprisoned in flesh.

And when to the tip of this tongue of flesh
some word comes, it kills itself.
If saved from killing itself,
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Food of Love by Carolyn Kizer
Carolyn Kizer
Eating is touch carried to the bitter end.
Samuel Butler II  I’m going to murder you with love;
I’m going to suffocate you with embraces;
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Gulf Memo by Stephen Sandy
Stephen Sandy
Tell me the way to the wedding
Tell me the way to the war,
Tell me the needle you’re threading
I won’t raise my voice anymore.

And tell me what axe you are grinding
Where the boy on the bivouac believes,
What reel you are unwinding
For the girl in her bed who grieves.
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Kaddish by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
For Naomi Ginsberg, 1894—1956 I
Strange now to think of you, gone without corsets & eyes, while I walk on the sunny pavement of Greenwich Village.
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To You by Kenneth Koch
Kenneth Koch
I love you as a sheriff searches for a walnut
That will solve a murder case unsolved for years
Because the murderer left it in the snow beside a window
Through which he saw her head, connecting with
Her shoulders by a neck, and laid a red
Roof in her heart. For this we live a thousand years;
For this we love, and we live because we love, we are not
Inside a bottle, thank goodness! I love you as a
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vocabulary I by Robin Blaser
Robin Blaser
let me get the vocabulary of this song
right—the curious happiness of poetry—
the word materialism dropped by the way
side—its mereness of the other face of
spiritualism—just two notes to sing—
repetitious dualism—do—do—once in a while
one squawks louder than the other, baby
crows being weaned before the next batch—
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from The Changeling by Thomas Middleton
Thomas Middleton
Deflores. What makes your lip so strange? This must not be betwixt us.
Beatrice. The man talks wildly.
Deflores. Come kisse me with a zeal now.
Beatrice. Heaven I doubt him.
Deflores. I will not stand so long to beg 'em shortly.
Beatrice. Take heed Deflores of forgetfulness, 'twill soon betray us.
Deflores. Take you heed first;
Faith y'are grown much forgetfull, y'are to blame in't.
Beatrice. He's bold, and I am blam'd for't.
Deflores. I have eas'd you of your trouble, think on't, I'me in pain,
And must be as'd of ou; 'tis a charity,
Justice invites your blood to understand me.
Beatrice. I dare not.
Deflores. Quickly.
Beatrice. Oh I never shall, speak if yet further of that I may lose
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The Presence by Odysseus Elytis
Odysseus Elytis
MARIA NEFELE:
I walk in thorns in the dark
of what’s to happen and what has
with my only weapon my only defense
my nails purple like cyclamens.

ANTIPHONIST:
I saw her everywhere. Holding a glass and staring in space. Lying down
listening to records. Walking the streets in wide trousers and an old
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The Golden Schlemiel by Irving Feldman
Irving Feldman
So there’s a cabbie in Cairo named Deif.
So he found 5,000 bucks in the back seat.
So meanwhile his daughter was very sick.
So he needed the money for medicine bad.
So never mind.
So he looked for the fare and gave it back.
So then the kid died.
So they fired him for doing good deeds on company time.
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Slavery by Hannah More
Hannah More
If Heaven has into being deigned to call
Thy light, O Liberty! to shine on all;
Bright intellectual Sun! why does thy ray
To earth distribute only partial day?
Since no resisting cause from spirit flows
Thy universal presence to oppose;
No obstacles by Nature’s hand impressed,
Thy subtle and ethereal beams arrest;
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Washing Day by Anna Lætitia Barbauld
Anna Lætitia Barbauld
The Muses are turned gossips; they have lost
The buskined step, and clear high-sounding phrase,
Language of gods. Come, then, domestic Muse,
In slip-shod measure loosely prattling on,
Of farm or orchard, pleasant curds and cream,
Or droning flies, or shoes lost in the mire
By little whimpering boy, with rueful face —
Come, Muse, and sing the dreaded washing day.
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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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The Third Hour of the Night by Frank Bidart
Frank Bidart
When the eye

When the edgeless screen receiving
light from the edgeless universe

When the eye first

When the edgeless screen facing
outward as if hypnotized by the edgeless universe

When the eye first saw that it

Hungry for more light
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America by Allen Ginsberg
Allen Ginsberg
America I’ve given you all and now I’m nothing.
America two dollars and twentyseven cents January 17, 1956.
I can’t stand my own mind.
America when will we end the human war?
Go fuck yourself with your atom bomb.
I don’t feel good don’t bother me.
I won’t write my poem till I’m in my right mind.
America when will you be angelic?
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The Bear Hunt by Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
A wild-bear chace, didst never see?
Then hast thou lived in vain.
Thy richest bump of glorious glee,
Lies desert in thy brain.

When first my father settled here,
’Twas then the frontier line:
The panther’s scream, filled night with fear
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Break of Day in the Trenches by Isaac Rosenberg
Isaac Rosenberg
The darkness crumbles away.
It is the same old druid Time as ever,
Only a live thing leaps my hand,
A queer sardonic rat,
As I pull the parapet’s poppy
To stick behind my ear.
Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
Your cosmopolitan sympathies.
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Chicago’s Congo by Frank Marshall Davis
Frank Marshall Davis
(Sonata for an Orchestra) Chicago is an overgrown woman
wearing her skyscrapers
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The Envoy of Mr. Cogito by Zbigniew Herbert
Zbigniew Herbert
Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important
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In Memoriam: Martin Luther King, Jr. by June Jordan
June Jordan
I

honey people murder mercy U.S.A.
the milkland turn to monsters teach
to kill to violate pull down destroy
the weakly freedom growing fruit
from being born

America

tomorrow yesterday rip rape
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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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Snow-Bound: A Winter Idyl by John Greenleaf Whittier
John Greenleaf Whittier
To the Memory of the Household It Describes
This Poem is Dedicated by the Author

“As the Spirits of Darkness be stronger in the dark, so Good Spirits, which be Angels of Light, are augmented not only by the Divine light of the Sun, but also by our common Wood Fire: and as the Celestial Fire drives away dark spirits, so also this our Fire of Wood doth the same.” —Cor. Agrippa, Occult Philosophy, Book I.ch. v.

“Announced by all the trumpets of the sky,
Arrives the snow, and, driving o’er the fields,
Seems nowhere to alight: the whited air
Hides hills and woods, the river and the heaven,
And veils the farm-house at the garden’s end.
The sled and traveller stopped, the courier’s feet
Delayed, all friends shut out, the housemates sit
Around the radiant fireplace, enclosed
In a tumultuous privacy of Storm.”
EMERSON, The Snow Storm. The sun that brief December day
Rose cheerless over hills of gray,
And, darkly circled, gave at noon
A sadder light than waning moon.
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To Elsie by William Carlos Williams
William Carlos Williams
The pure products of America
go crazy—
mountain folk from Kentucky

or the ribbed north end of
Jersey
with its isolate lakes and

valleys, its deaf-mutes, thieves
old names
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The Victor Dog by James Merrill
James Merrill
for Elizabeth Bishop Bix to Buxtehude to Boulez.
The little white dog on the Victor label
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Vobiscum Est Iope by Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion
When thou must home to shades of underground,
And there arrived, a new admirèd guest,
The beauteous spirits do engirt thee round,
White Iope, blithe Helen, and the rest,
To hear the stories of thy finished love
From that smooth tongue whose music hell can move;

Then wilt thou speak of banqueting delights,
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Abraham Lincoln Walks at Midnight by Vachel Lindsay
Vachel Lindsay
(In Springfield, Illinois) It is portentous, and a thing of state
That here at midnight, in our little town
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Ancient History by Siegfried Sassoon
Siegfried Sassoon
Adam, a brown old vulture in the rain,
Shivered below his wind-whipped olive-trees;
Huddling sharp chin on scarred and scraggy knees,
He moaned and mumbled to his darkening brain;
‘He was the grandest of them all—was Cain!
‘A lion laired in the hills, that none could tire;
‘Swift as a stag; a stallion of the plain,
‘Hungry and fierce with deeds of huge desire.’
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Badman of the Guest Professor by Ishmael Reed
Ishmael Reed
for Joe Overstreet, David Henderson, Albert Ayler & d mysterious ‘H’ who cut up d Rembrandts i

u worry me whoever u are
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The Ballad of Blasphemous Bill by Robert W. Service
Robert W. Service
I took a contract to bury the body of blasphemous Bill MacKie,
Whenever, wherever or whatsoever the manner of death he die —
Whether he die in the light o’ day or under the peak-faced moon;
In cabin or dance-hall, camp or dive, mucklucks or patent shoon;
On velvet tundra or virgin peak, by glacier, drift or draw;
In muskeg hollow or canyon gloom, by avalanche, fang or claw;
By battle, murder or sudden wealth, by pestilence, hooch or lead —
I swore on the Book I would follow and look till I found my tombless dead.
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from Chanting at the Crystal Sea by Susan Howe
Susan Howe
All male Quincys are now dead, excepting one.
John Wheelwright, “Gestures to the Dead” 1
Vast oblong space
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The Eve of St. Agnes by John Keats
John Keats
St. Agnes' Eve—Ah, bitter chill it was!
The owl, for all his feathers, was a-cold;
The hare limp'd trembling through the frozen grass,
And silent was the flock in woolly fold:
Numb were the Beadsman's fingers, while he told
His rosary, and while his frosted breath,
Like pious incense from a censer old,
Seem'd taking flight for heaven, without a death,
Past the sweet Virgin's picture, while his prayer he saith.

His prayer he saith, this patient, holy man;
Then takes his lamp, and riseth from his knees,
And back returneth, meagre, barefoot, wan,
Along the chapel aisle by slow degrees:
The sculptur'd dead, on each side, seem to freeze,
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Eve of St. Agony or The Middleclass Was Sitting on Its Fat by Kenneth Patchen
Kenneth Patchen
Man-dirt and stomachs that the sea unloads; rockets
of quick lice crawling inland, planting their damn flags,
putting their malethings in any hole that will stand still,
yapping bloody murder while they slice off each other’s heads,
spewing themselves around, priesting, whoring, lording
it over little guys, messing their pants, writing gush-notes
to their grandmas, wanting somebody to do something pronto,
wanting the good thing right now and the bad stuff for the other boy.
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I Would Fain Die a Dry Death by Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Anna Perkins Gilman
The American public is patient,
The American public is slow,
The American public will stand as much
As any public I know.
We submit to be killed by our railroads,
We submit to be fooled by our press,
We can stand as much government scandal
As any folks going, I guess,
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The Journey by Yvor Winters
Yvor Winters
Snake River Country I now remembered slowly how I came,
I, sometime living, sometime with a name,
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The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot
T. S. Eliot
S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo,
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse.
Ma percioche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo.
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The Lovers of the Poor by Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks
arrive. The Ladies from the Ladies’ Betterment League
Arrive in the afternoon, the late light slanting
In diluted gold bars across the boulevard brag
Of proud, seamed faces with mercy and murder hinting
Here, there, interrupting, all deep and debonair,
The pink paint on the innocence of fear;
Walk in a gingerly manner up the hall.
Cutting with knives served by their softest care,
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The Nymph Complaining for the Death of her Fawn by Andrew Marvell
Andrew Marvell
The wanton troopers riding by
Have shot my fawn, and it will die.
Ungentle men! they cannot thrive
To kill thee. Thou ne’er didst alive
Them any harm, alas, nor could
Thy death yet do them any good.
I’m sure I never wish’d them ill,
Nor do I for all this, nor will;
But if my simple pray’rs may yet
Prevail with Heaven to forget
Thy murder, I will join my tears
Rather than fail. But oh, my fears!
It cannot die so. Heaven’s King
Keeps register of everything,
And nothing may we use in vain.
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The Tables Turned by William Wordsworth
William Wordsworth
Up! up! my Friend, and quit your books;
Or surely you'll grow double:
Up! up! my Friend, and clear your looks;
Why all this toil and trouble?

The sun above the mountain's head,
A freshening lustre mellow
Through all the long green fields has spread,
His first sweet evening yellow.

Books! 'tis a dull and endless strife:
Come, hear the woodland linnet,
How sweet his music! on my life,
There's more of wisdom in it.

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Tam O 'Shanter by Robert Burns
Robert Burns
When chapman billies leave the street,
And drouthy neebors neebors meet,
As market-days are wearing late,
And folk begin to tak the gate;
While we sit bousin, at the nappy,
And gettin fou and unco happy,
We think na on the lang Scots miles,
The mosses, waters, slaps, and stiles,
That lie between us and our hame,
Whare sits our sulky, sullen dame,
Gathering her brows like gathering storm,
Nursing her wrath to keep it warm.

This truth fand honest Tam o' Shanter,
As he frae Ayr ae night did canter:
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To the Pious Memory of the Accomplished Young Lady Mrs. Anne Killigrew by John Dryden
John Dryden
Excellent In The Two Sister-Arts Of POËsy And Painting: An Ode 1
Thou youngest virgin-daughter of the skies,
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When Thou Must Home to Shades of Underground by Thomas Campion
Thomas Campion
When thou must home to shades of underground,
And there arriv'd, a new admired guest,
The beauteous spirits do engirt thee round,
White Iope, blithe Helen, and the rest,
To hear the stories of thy finish'd love
From that smooth tongue whose music hell can move;

Then wilt thou speak of banqueting delights,
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