Kenneth Fearing

K
Kenneth Fearing
Aphrodite Metropolis (1)
"Myrtle loves Harry"—It is sometimes hard to remember a thing like that,
Hard to think about it, and no one knows what to do with it when he has it,
So write it out on a billboard that stands under the yellow light of an "L" platform among popcorn wrappers and crushed cigars,
A poster that says "Mama I Love Crispy Wafers So."
Leave it on a placard where somebody else gave the blonde lady a pencil moustache, and another perplexed citizen deposited:
"Jesus Saves. Jesus Saves."
One can lay this bundle down there with the others,
And never lose it, or forget it, or want it.
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Aphrodite Metropolis (2)
Harry loves Myrtle—He has strong arms, from the warehouse,
And on Sunday when they take the bus to emerald meadows he doesn't say:
"What will your chastity amount to when your flesh withers in a little while?"
No,
On Sunday, when they picnic in emerald meadows they look at the Sunday paper:
GIRL SLAYS BANKER-BETRAYER
They spread it around on the grass
BATH-TUB STIRS JERSEY ROW
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Ballad of the Salvation Army
On Fourteenth street the bugles blow,
Bugles blow, bugles blow.
The red, red, red, red banner floats
Where sweating angels split their throats,
Marching in burlap petticoats,
Blow, bugles, blow.

God is a ten car Bronx express,
Red eyes round, red eyes round.
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Dirge
1-2-3 was the number he played but today the number came 3-2-1;
bought his Carbide at 30 and it went to 29; had the favorite at Bowie but the track was slow—

O, executive type, would you like to drive a floating power, knee-action, silk-upholstered six? Wed a Hollywood star? Shoot the course in 58? Draw to the ace, king, jack?
O, fellow with a will who won't take no, watch out for three cigarettes on the same, single match; O democratic voter born in August under Mars, beware of liquidated rails—

Denouement to denouement, he took a personal pride in the certain, certain way he lived his own, private life,
but nevertheless, they shut off his gas; nevertheless, the bank foreclosed; nevertheless, the landlord called; nevertheless, the radio broke,

And twelve o'clock arrived just once too often,
just the same he wore one gray tweed suit, bought one straw hat, drank one straight Scotch, walked one short step, took one long look, drew one deep breath,
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Q & A
Where analgesia may be found to ease the infinite, minute scars of the day;
What final interlude will result, picked bit by bit from the morning's hurry, the lunch-hour boredom, the fevers of the night;
Why this one is cherished by the gods, and that one not;
How to win, and win again, and again, staking wit alone against a sea of time;
Which man to trust and, once found, how far—

Will not be found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John,
Nor Blackstone, nor Gray's, nor Dun & Bradstreet, nor Freud, nor Marx,
Nor the sage of the evening news, nor the corner astrologist, nor in any poet,
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St. Agnes' Eve
The dramatis personae include a fly-specked Monday evening,
A cigar store with stagnant windows,
Two crooked streets,
Six policemen and Louie Glatz.
Bass drums mumble and mutter an ominous portent
As Louie Glatz holds up the cigar store and backs out with
$14.92.
Officer Dolan noticed something suspicious, it is supposed,
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X Minus X
Even when your friend, the radio, is still; even when her dream, the magazine, is finished; even when his life, the ticker, is silent; even when their destiny, the boulevard, is bare;
And after that paradise, the dance-hall, is closed; after that theater, the clinic, is dark,

Still there will be your desire, and hers, and his hopes and theirs,
Your laughter, their laughter,
Your curse and his curse, her reward and their reward, their dismay and his dismay and her dismay and yours—

Even when your enemy, the collector, is dead; even when your counsellor, the salesman, is sleeping; even when your sweetheart, the movie queen, has spoken; even when your friend, the magnate, is gone.
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