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Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007 12:37 pm

People's poetry

Presented by Jacqueline Jackson

Untitled Document personalpoem #4
I once knew an elderly man
basil de selicourt who could   
do the times crossword in pen
in ten minutes I mean of course
the london times for just like
the british stamp the only one
worldwide without its country
on it there is only one times no
purpose to this rambling but to
say even easy sudoku boggles
me and that once I helped that man
pick chickens from a tree I held
them by their warm scaly legs
upside down a reverse flower
feather bouquet as he handed them
to me one by one they had been
frightened up there by a fox I think

© Jacqueline Jackson 2007

Man’s best friend is, of course, woman’s best friend, too. The Illinois poet, Bruce Guernsey, offers us this snapshot of a mutually agreed upon dependency that leads to a domestic communion.
The Lady and the Tramp
As my mother’s memory dims she’s losing her sense of smell and can’t remember the toast blackening the kitchen with smoke or sniff how nasty the breath of the dog that follows her yet from room to room, unable, himself, to hear his own bark.
It’s thus they get around, the wheezing old hound stone deaf baying like a smoke alarm for his amnesiac mistress whose back from petting him is bent forever as they shuffle towards the flaming toaster and split the cindered crisp that’s left.
Poem copyright © 2007 by Bruce Guernsey, whose newest book, New England Primer, published by Cherry Grove Collections (WordTech Communications) is due out in 2008. Poem reprinted from Spoon River Poetry Review (Vol. XXVI, No. 2), by permission of the author. American Life in Poetry is made possible by The Poetry Foundation, 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 2004-2006. For more information, go to www.americanlifeinpoetry.org.
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