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Best Famous Russell Edson Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Russell Edson poems. This is a select list of the best famous Russell Edson poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Russell Edson poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of Russell Edson poems.

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by Russell Edson | |

The Theory

 The big one went to sleep as to die and dreamed he
became a tiny one.
So tiny as to have lost all substance.
To have become as theoretical as a point.
Then someone said, get up, big one, you're not doing yourself any good.
You puddle and stagnate in your weight.
Best to be up and toward.
It irrigates you.
What, said the big one, have I not disappeared? Have you not mistaken a cloud for me? Perhaps some local hill fulfills your expectation? No, it's no mistake, it's you; those interconnecting puddles of flesh pulling at your bones, attempting that world-weary fall toward the great waters of the world.
How you manage against gravity is one of the greater triumphs of nature.
Do you think, said the big one, there's a woman who would like to marry me? Yes, had such a woman done everything in the world except marry you, she might think it worthy before dying to complete her catalogue.
Or having done everything, go meekly without decision or care to such a consummation.
Then you really feel, said the big one, that this woman could come to care very deeply for me? All is theoretical.
Who knows enough to say the outcome of any event, save that it was past us, and we saw the back of it moving slowly into the Universe, seeking other settings to repeat the fall of fate.
.
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That sounds wonderful, that a woman like that could be in love with me, said the big one.
But in a few moments the big one was back asleep, dreaming that he had come to such enlargement that he constituted all the matter in the Universe, which must include the earth and the woman he would have loved.
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by Russell Edson | |

Accidents

 The barber has accidentally taken off an ear.
It lies like something newborn on the floor in a nest of hair.
Oops, says the barber, but it musn't've been a very good ear, it came off with very little complaint.
It wasn't, says the customer, it was always overly waxed.
I tried putting a wick in it to burn out the wax, thus to find my way to music.
But lighting it I put my whole head on fire.
It even spread to my groin and underarms and to a nearby forest.
I felt like a saint.
Someone thought I was a genius.
That's comforting, says the barber, still, I can't send you home with only one ear.
I'll have to remove the other one.
But don't worry, it'll be an accident.
Symmetry demands it.
But make sure it's an accident, I don't want you cutting me up on purpose.
Maybe I'll just slit your throat.
But it has to be an accident .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

Elephant Dormitory

 An elephant went to bed and pulled a crazy quilt up under
its tusks.
But just as the great gray head began filling with the gray wrinkles of sleep it was awakened by the thud of its tail falling out of bed.
Would you get my tail? said the elephant to another elephant also tucked up under a crazy quilt.
I was just in the gray wrinkles of my sleep, sighed the other elephant.
But I can't sleep without my tail, said the first elephant, I like it stuck just above my anus; I feel more secure that way, that it holds my anus from drifting out to heaven.


More great poems below...

by Russell Edson | |

Mr. Brain

 Mr Brain was a hermit dwarf who liked to eat shellfish off 
the moon.
He liked to go into a tree then because there is a little height to see a little further, which may reveal now the stone, a pebble--it is a twig, it is nothing under the moon that you can make sure of.
So Mr Brain opened his mouth to let a moonbeam into his head.
Why to be alone, and you invite the stars to tea.
A cup of tea drinks a luminous guest.
In the winter could you sit quietly by the window, in the evening when you could have vinegar and pretend it to be wine, because you would do well to eat doughnuts and pretend you drink wine as you sit quietly by the window.
You may kick your leg back and forth.
You may have a tendency to not want to look there too long and turn to find darkness in the room because it had become nighttime.
Why to be alone.
You are pretty are you not/you are as pretty as you are not, or does that make sense.
You are not pretty, that is how you can be alone.
And then you are pretty like fungus and alga, you are no one without some one, in theory alone.
Be good enough to go to bed so you can not think too much longer.


by Russell Edson | |

The Pilot

 Up in a dirty window in a dark room is a star 
which an old man can see.
He looks at it.
He can see it.
It is the star of the room; an electrical freckle that has fallen out of his head and gotten stuck in the dirt on the window.
He thinks he can steer by that star.
He thinks he can use the back of a chair as a ship's wheel to pilot his room through the night.
He says to himself, brave Captain, are you afraid? Yes, I am afraid; I am not so brave.
Be brave, my Captain.
And all night the old man steers his room through the dark .
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by Russell Edson | |

The Family Monkey

 We bought an electric monkey, experimenting rather 
recklessly with funds carefully gathered since 
grandfather's time for the purchase of a steam monkey.
We had either, by this time, the choice of an electric or gas monkey.
The steam monkey is no longer being made, said the monkey merchant.
But the family always planned on a steam monkey.
Well, said the monkey merchant, just as the wind-up monkey gave way to the steam monkey, the steam monkey has given way to the gas and electric monkeys.
Is that like the grandfather clock being replaced by the grandchild clock? Sort of, said the monkey merchant.
So we bought the electric monkey, and plugged its umbilical cord into the wall.
The smoke coming out of its fur told us something was wrong.
We had electrocuted the family monkey.


by Russell Edson | |

On The Eating Of Mice

 A woman prepared a mouse for her husband's dinner,
roasting it with a blueberry in its mouth.
At table he uses a dentist's pick and a surgeon's scalpel, bending over the tiny roastling with a jeweler's loupe .
.
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Twenty years of this: curried mouse, garlic and butter mouse, mouse sauteed in its own fur, Salisbury mouse, mouse-in-the-trap, baked in the very trap that killed it, mouse tartare, mouse poached in menstrual blood at the full of the moon .
.
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Twenty years of this, eating their way through the mice .
.
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And yet, not to forget, each night, one less vermin in the world .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Father Of Toads

 A man had just delivered a toad from his wife's armpit.
He held it by its legs and spanked it.
Do you love it? said his wife.
It's our child, isn't it? Does that mean you can't love it? she said.
It's hard enough to love a toad, but when it turns out to be your own son then revulsion is without any tender inhibition, he said.
Do you mean you would not like to call it George Jr.
? she said.
But we've already called the other toad that, he said.
Well, perhaps we could call the other one George Sr.
, she said.
But I am George Sr.
, he said.
Well, perhaps if you hid in the attic, so that no one needed to call you anything, there would be no difficulty in calling both of them George, she said.
Yes, if no one talks to me, then what need have I for a name? he said.
No, no one will talk to you for the rest of your life.
And when we bury you we shall put Father of Toads on your tombstone.


by Russell Edson | |

Angels

 They have little use.
They are best as objects of torment.
No government cares what you do with them.
Like birds, and yet so human .
.
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They mate by briefly looking at the other.
Their eggs are like white jellybeans.
Sometimes they have been said to inspire a man to do more with his life than he might have.
But what is there for a man to do with his life? .
.
.
They burn beautifully with a blue flame.
When they cry out it is like the screech of a tiny hinge; the cry of a bat.
No one hears it .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Pattern

 A women had given birth to an old man.
He cried to have again been caught in the pattern.
Oh well, he sighed as he took her breast to his mouth.
The woman is happy to have her baby, even if it is old.
Probably it got mislaid in the baby place, and when they found it and saw that it was a little too ripe, they said, well, it is good enough for this woman who is almost deserving of nothing.
She wonders if she is the only mother with a baby old enough to be her father.


by Russell Edson | |

Grass

 The living room is overgrown with grass.
It has come up around the furniture.
It stretches through the dining room, past the swinging door into the kitchen.
It extends for miles and miles into the walls .
.
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There's treasure in grass, things dropped or put there; a stick of rust that was once a penknife, a grave marker.
.
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All hidden in the grass at the scalp of the window .
.
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In a cellar under the grass an old man sits in a rocking chair, rocking to and fro.
In his arms he holds an infant, the infant body of himself.
And he rocks to and fro under the grass in the dark .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Sad Message

 The Captain becomes moody at sea.
He's afraid of water; such bully amounts that prove the seas.
.
.
A glass of water is one thing.
A man easily downs it, capturing its menace in his bladder; pissing it away.
A few drops of rain do little harm, save to remind of how grief looks upon the cheek.
One day the water is willing to bear your ship upon its back like a liquid elephant.
The next day the elephant doesn't want you on its back, and says, I have no more willingness to have you there; get off.
At sea this is a sad message.
The Captain sits in his cabin wearing a parachute, listening to what the sea might say.
.
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by Russell Edson | |

Vomit

 The house grows sick in its dining room and begins to vomit.
Father cries, the dining room is vomiting.
No wonder, the way you eat, it's enough to make anybody sick, says his wife.
What shall we do? What shall we do? he cries.
Call the Vomit Doctor of course.
Yes, but all he does is vomit, sighs father.
If you were a vomit doctor you'd vomit too.
But isn't there enough vomit? sighs father.
There is never enough vomit.
Do I make everybody that sick, sighs father.
No no, everybody is born sick.
Born sick? cries father.
Of course, haven't you noticed how everybody eventually dies? she says.
Is the dining room dying .
.
.
? .
.
.
The way you eat, it's enough to make anyone sick, she screams.
So I do make everybody that sick .
.
.
Excuse me, I think I'm going to be sick, she says.
Oh where is the Vomit Doctor? At least when he vomits one knows one has it from high authority, screamed father.


by Russell Edson | |

The Lighted Window

 A lighted window floats through the night 
like a piece of paper in the wind.
I want to see into it.
I want to climb through into its lighted room.
As I reach for it it slips through the trees.
As I chase it it rolls and tumbles into the air and skitters on through the night .
.
.


by Russell Edson | |

The Man Rock

 A man is a rock in a garden of chairs and waits 
for a longtime to be over.
It is easier for a rock in a garden than a man inside his mother.
He decided to be a rock when he got outside.
A rock asks only what is a rock.
A rock waits to be a rock.
A rock is a longtime waiting for a longtime to be over so that it may turn and go the other way.
A rock awakens into a man.
A man looks.
A man sleeps back into a rock as it is better for a rock in a garden than a man inside himself trembling in red darkness.


by Russell Edson | |

The Road

 There was a road that leads him to go to find a certain 
time where he sits.
Smokes quietly in the evening by the four legged table wagging its (well why not) tail, friendly chap.
Hears footsteps, looks to find his own feet gone.
The road absorbs everything with rumors of sleep.
And then he looked for himself and even he was gone.
Looked for the road and even that .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Wounded Breakfast

 A huge shoe mounts up from the horizon, 
squealing and grinding forward on small wheels, 
even as a man sitting to breakfast on his veranda 
is suddenly engulfed in a great shadow, almost 
the size of the night .
.
.
He looks up and sees a huge shoe ponderously mounting out of the earth.
Up in the unlaced ankle-part an old woman stands at a helm behind the great tongue curled forward; the thick laces dragging like ships' rope on the ground as the huge thing squeals and grinds forward; children everywhere, they look from the shoelace holes, they crowd about the old woman, even as she pilots this huge shoe over the earth .
.
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Soon the huge shoe is descending the opposite horizon, a monstrous snail squealing and grinding into the earth .
.
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The man turns to his breakfast again, but sees it's been wounded, the yolk of one of his eggs is bleeding .
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by Russell Edson | |

The Melting

 An old woman likes to melt her husband.
She puts him in a melting device, and he pours out the other end in a hot bloody syrup, which she catches in a series of little husband molds.
What splatters on the floor the dog licks up.
When they have set she has seventeen little husbands.
One she throws to the dog because the genitals didn't set right; too much like a vulva because of an air bubble.
Then there are sixteen naked little husbands standing in a row across the kitchen table.
She diddles them and they produce sixteen little erections.
She thinks she might melt her husband again.
She likes melting him.
She might pour him into an even smaller series of husband molds .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

A Historical Breakfast

 A man is bringing a cup of coffee to his face, 
tilting it to his mouth.
It's historical, he thinks.
He scratches his head: another historical event.
He really ought to rest, he's making an awful lot of history this morning.
Oh my, now he's buttering toast, another piece of history is being made.
He wonders why it should have fallen on him to be so historical.
Others probably just don't have it, he thinks, it is, after all, a talent.
He thinks one of his shoelaces needs tying.
Oh well, another important historical event is about to take place.
He just can't help it.
Perhaps he's taking up too large an area of history? But he has to live, hasn't he? Toast needs buttering and he can't go around with one of his shoelaces needing to be tied, can he? Certainly it's true, when the 20th century gets written in full it will be mainly about him.
That's the way the cookie crumbles--ah, there's a phrase that'll be quoted for centuries to come.
Self-conscious? A little; how can one help it with all those yet-to-be-born eyes of the future watching him? Uh oh, he feels another historical event coming .
.
.
Ah, there it is, a cup of coffee approaching his face at the end of his arm.
If only they could catch it on film, how much it would mean to the future.
Oops, spilled it all over his lap.
One of those historical accidents that will influence the next thousand years; unpredictable, and really rather uncomfortable .
.
.
But history is never easy, he thinks .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Breast

 One night a woman's breast came to a man's room and
began to talk about her twin sister.
Her twin sister this and her twin sister that.
Finally the man said, but what about you, dear breast? And so the breast spent the rest of the night talking about herself.
It was the same as when she talked about her sister: herself this and herself that.
Finally the man kissed her nipple and said, I'm sorry, and fell asleep.
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Ox

 There was once a woman whose father over 
the years had become an ox.
She would hear him alone at night lowing in his room.
It was one day when she looked up into his face that she suddenly noticed the ox.
She cried, you're an ox! And he began to moo with his great pink tongue hanging out of his mouth.
He would stand over his newspaper, turning the pages with his tongue, while he evacuated on the rug.
When this was brought to his attention he would low with sorrow, and slowly climb the stairs to his room, and there spend the night in mournful lowing.


by Russell Edson | |

The Alfresco Moment

 A butler asks, will Madam be having her morning coffee
alfresco?
 If you would be so good as to lift me out of my bed to
the veranda I would be more than willing to imbibe coffee
alfresco.
Shall I ask the Master to join you for coffee alfresco, Madam? But my nightgown's so sheer he might see my pubic delta alfresco.
And being a woman of wealth I have the loins of a goddess.
While you, being but a servant, have the loins of a child's teddy bear.
Yes, have the Master join the alfresco moment.
He might just as well be informed of my pubic delta, it's not a state secret.
Besides, because of his wealth he bears the organ of a bull, while you, being but a lowly servant, have the loins of a toy.
Very good, Madam .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Bridge

 In his travels he comes to a bridge made entirely of bones.
Before crossing he writes a letter to his mother: Dear mother, guess what? the ape accidentally bit off one of his hands while eating a banana.
Just now I am at the foot of a bone bridge.
I shall be crossing it shortly.
I don't know if I shall find hills and valleys made of flesh on the other side, or simply constant night, villages of sleep.
The ape is scolding me for not teaching him better.
I am letting him wear my pith helmet for consolation.
The bridge looks like one of those skeletal reconstructions of a huge dinosaur one sees in a museum.
The ape is looking at the stump of his wrist and scolding me again.
I offer him another banana and he gets very furious, as though I'd insulted him.
Tomorrow we cross the bridge.
I'll write to you from the other side if I can; if not, look for a sign .
.
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by Russell Edson | |

The Toy-Maker

 A toy-maker made a toy wife and a toy child.
He made a toy house and some toy years.
He made a getting-old toy, and he made a dying toy.
The toy-maker made a toy heaven and a toy god.
But, best of all, he liked making toy shit.


by Russell Edson | |

The Death Of A Fly

 There was once a man who disguised himself as a 
housefly and went about the neighborhood depositing 
flyspecks.
Well, he has to do something hasn't he? said someone to someone else.
Of course, said someone else back to someone.
Then what's all the fuss? said someone to someone else.
Who's fussing? I'm just saying that if he doesn't get off the wall of that building the police will have to shoot him off.
Oh that, of course, there's nothing so engaging as a dead fly.
I love dead flies, the way they remind me of individuals who have met their fate .
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