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Wednesday, May 9, 2007 10:03 pm

People's Poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document maybirthdaypoem #1   

birthing a poem
the sort I write anyway
is like a pregnancy
can’t always tell when
the knocking up came
or even whodunnit
but it grows slowly
starts to kick finally swims
the canal is or is not
a bonny babe needs a spank
maybe later plastic surgery
sometimes it’s a burp the
belly growls and it erupts
now and then it does
burst from the brow like
athena but usually with
questionable wisdom
sometimes it’s just a lump
in the gut not going nowhere
hardly worth the strain

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007

Houdini never gets far from the news. There’s always a movie coming out, or a book, and every other magician has to face comparison to the legendary master. Here the California poet, Kay Ryan, encapsulates the man and says something wise about celebrity.

Houdini  
Each escape involved some art, some hokum, and at least a brief incomprehensible exchange between the man and metal during which the chains were not so much broken as he and they blended. At the end of each such mix he had to extract himself. It was the hardest part to get right routinely: breaking back into the same Houdini.
Poem copyright © 2004 by Kay Ryan, whose most recent book of poetry is The Niagara River (Grove Press, 2005). Reprinted from Poetry (November, 2004), with permission of the author. This weekly column is supported by The Poetry Foundation, The Library of Congress, and the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. This column does not accept unsolicited poetry.


Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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