Alan Dugan

A
Alan Dugan
Fabrication of Ancestors
For old Billy Dugan, shot in the ass in the Civil war, my father said. The old wound in my ass
has opened up again, but I
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How We Heard the Name
The river brought down
dead horses, dead men
and military debris,
indicative of war
or official acts upstream,
but it went by, it all
goes by, that is the thing
about the river. Then
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27
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Love Song: I and Thou
Nothing is plumb, level, or square:
the studs are bowed, the joists
are shaky by nature, no piece fits
any other piece without a gap
or pinch, and bent nails
dance all over the surfacing
like maggots. By Christ
I am no carpenter. I built
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33
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Monologue of a Commercial Fisherman
“If you work a body of water and a body of woman
you can take fish out of one and children out of the other
for the two kinds of survival. The fishing is good,
both kinds are adequate in pleasures and yield,
but the hard work and the miseries are killing;
it is a good life if life is good. If not, not.
You are out in the world and in in the world,
having it both ways: it is sportive and prevenient living
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56
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On Hurricane Jackson
Now his nose’s bridge is broken, one eye
will not focus and the other is a stray;
trainers whisper in his mouth while one ear
listens to itself, clenched like a fist;
generally shadowboxing in a smoky room,
his mind hides like the aching boys
who lost a contest in the Panhellenic games
and had to take the back roads home,
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Wall, Cave, and Pillar Statements, after Asôka
In order to perfect all readers
the statements should be carved
on rock walls, on cave walls,
and on the side of pillars so
the charm of their instruction can
affect the mountain climbers near
the cliffs, the plainsmen near
the pillars, and the city people near
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Against a Sickness: To the Female Double Principle God
She said: “I’m god and all
of this and that world and love
garbage and slaughter all the time
and spring once a year. Once a year
I like to love. You can adjust
to the discipline or not,
and your sacrificial act
called ‘Fruitfulness in Decay’
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Prison Song
The skin ripples over my body like moon-wooed water,
rearing to escape me. Where could it find another
animal as naked as the one it hates to cover?
Once it told me what was happening outside,
who was attacking, who caressing, and what the air
was doing to feed or freeze me. Now I wake up
dark at night, in a textureless ocean of ignorance,
or fruit bites back and water bruises like a stone.
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Remembering an Account Executive
He had a back office in his older brother’s
advertising agency and understood the human asshole.
He turned his father’s small inheritance over and over
on hemorrhoid ads between three-hour lunches
at the Plaza every day and cocktails at five-thirty
with different dressy women waiting in our front office.
We joked that he fucked them up the ass to make more customers
and were nauseated by him because he picked his ears
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Two Quits and a Drum, and Elegy for Drinkers
1. ON ASPHALT: NO GREENS

Quarry out the stone
of land, cobble the beach,
wall surf, name it “street,”
allow no ground or green
cover for animal sins,
but let opacity of sand
be glass to keep the heat
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Fabrication of Ancestors
For old Billy Dugan, shot in the ass in the Civil War, my father said. The old wound in my ass
has opened up again, but I
Read Poem
0
36
Rating:

How We Heard the Name
The river brought down
dead horses, dead men
and military debris,
indicative of war
or official acts upstream,
but it went by, it all
goes by, that is the thing
about the river. Then
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42
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Internal Migration: On Being on Tour
As an American traveler I have
to remember not to get actionably mad
about the way things are around here.
Tomorrow I’ll be a thousand miles away
from the way it is around here. I will
keep my temper, I will not kill the dog
next door, nor will I kill the next-door wife,
both of whom are crazy and aggressive
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On Being a Householder
I live inside of a machine
or machines. Every time one
goes off another starts. Why
don’t I go outside and sleep
on the ground. It is because
I’m scared of the open night
and stars looking down at me
as God’s eyes, full of questions;
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32
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On the Civil War on the East Coast of the United States of North America 1860-64
Because of the unaccountable spirit of the troops
oh we were marched as we were never marched before
and flanked them off from home. Stupid Meade
was after them, head on to tail, but we convinced
him, finally, to flank, flank, cut off their head.
He finally understood, the idiot, and got a fort
named after him, for wisdom. He probably thought
Lee would conquer Washington from Appomattox
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Plague of Dead Sharks
Who knows whether the sea heals or corrodes?
The wading, wintered pack-beasts of the feet
slough off, in spring, the dead rind of the shoes’
leather detention, the big toe’s yellow horn
shines with a natural polish, and the whole
person seems to profit. The opposite appears
when dead sharks wash up along the beach
for no known reason. What is more built
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44
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Portrait from the Infantry
He smelled bad and was red-eyed with the miseries
of being scared while sleepless when he said
this: “I want a private woman, peace and quiet,
and some green stuff in my pocket. Fuck
the rest.” Pity the underwear and socks,
long burnt, of an accomplished murderer,
oh God, of germans and replacements, who
refused three stripes to keep his B.A.R.,
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Prayer
God, I need a job because I need money.
Here the world is, enjoyable with whiskey,
women, ultimate weapons, and class!
But if I have no money, then my wife
gets mad at me, I can’t drink well,
the armed oppress me, and no boss
pays me money. But when I work,
Oh I get paid!, the police are courteous,
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“Speciously individual ...”
Speciously individual
like a solid piece of spit
floating in a cuspidor
I dream of free bravery
but am a social being.
I should do something
to get out of here
but float around in the culture
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Untitled Poem “Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?”
Why feel guilty because the death of a lover causes lust?
It is only an animal urge to perpetuate the species,
but if I do not inhibit my imagination and dreams
I can see your skull smiling up at me from underground
and your bones loosely arranged in the missionary position.
This is not an incapacitating vision except at night,
and not a will of constancy, nor an irrevocable trust,
so I take on a woman with a mouth like an open wound.
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