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Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2007 08:09 am

People's Poetry

Jacqueline Jackson presents

Untitled Document chutzpahpoem #1

at the interminable canadian
customs a car sneaks from a
side street horns its way
into the queue ahead of us
some docile driver lets it
I send ugly vibes for flat tires
faulty generator broken belts
a boiling radiator bird poop
on its gleaming finish
none of these to take effect
of course till it’s cleared
the checkpoint unless —
best of all — it’s pulled
randomly from the line
for a stem-to-stern top-
to-bottom full-body search

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007

The chances are very good that you are within a thousand yards of a man with a comb-over, and he may even be somewhere in your house. Here’s Maine poet, Wesley McNair, with his commentary on these valorous attempts to disguise hair loss.
Hymn to the Comb-Over
How the thickest of them erupt just above the ear, cresting in waves so stiff no wind can move them. Let us praise them in all of their varieties, some skinny as the bands of headphones, some rising from a part that extends halfway around the head, others four or five strings stretched so taut the scalp resembles a musical instrument. Let us praise the sprays that hold them, and the combs that coax such abundance to the front of the head in the mirror, the combers entirely forget the back. And let us celebrate the combers, who address the old sorrow of time’s passing day after day, bringing out of the barrenness of mid-life this ridiculous and wonderful harvest, no wishful flag of hope, but, thick, or thin, the flag itself, unfurled for us all in subways, offices, and malls across America.
Poem copyright © 2006 by Wesley McNair. Reprinted from The Ghosts of You and Me, published by David R. Godine, 2006, by permission of the author. Introduction copyright © 2006 by The Poetry Foundation. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation (www.poetryfoundation.org), publisher of Poetry magazine. It is also supported by the Department of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
Ted Kooser served as the U.S. Poet Laureate from 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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