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Best Famous 10Th Grade Poems

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12
Written by David Berman | Create an image from this poem

Self-Portrait At 28

 I know it's a bad title
but I'm giving it to myself as a gift
on a day nearly canceled by sunlight
when the entire hill is approaching
the ideal of Virginia
brochured with goldenrod and loblolly
and I think "at least I have not woken up
with a bloody knife in my hand"
by then having absently wandered
one hundred yards from the house
while still seated in this chair
with my eyes closed.
It is a certain hill the one I imagine when I hear the word "hill" and if the apocalypse turns out to be a world-wide nervous breakdown if our five billion minds collapse at once well I'd call that a surprise ending and this hill would still be beautiful a place I wouldn't mind dying alone or with you.
I am trying to get at something and I want to talk very plainly to you so that we are both comforted by the honesty.
You see there is a window by my desk I stare out when I am stuck though the outdoors has rarely inspired me to write and I don't know why I keep staring at it.
My childhood hasn't made good material either mostly being a mulch of white minutes with a few stand out moments, popping tar bubbles on the driveway in the summer a certain amount of pride at school everytime they called it "our sun" and playing football when the only play was "go out long" are what stand out now.
If squeezed for more information I can remember old clock radios with flipping metal numbers and an entree called Surf and Turf.
As a way of getting in touch with my origins every night I set the alarm clock for the time I was born so that waking up becomes a historical reenactment and the first thing I do is take a reading of the day and try to flow with it like when you're riding a mechanical bull and you strain to learn the pattern quickly so you don't inadverantly resist it.
II two I can't remember being born and no one else can remember it either even the doctor who I met years later at a cocktail party.
It's one of the little disappointments that makes you think about getting away going to Holly Springs or Coral Gables and taking a room on the square with a landlady whose hands are scored by disinfectant, telling the people you meet that you are from Alaska, and listen to what they have to say about Alaska until you have learned much more about Alaska than you ever will about Holly Springs or Coral Gables.
Sometimes I am buying a newspaper in a strange city and think "I am about to learn what it's like to live here.
" Oftentimes there is a news item about the complaints of homeowners who live beside the airport and I realize that I read an article on this subject nearly once a year and always receive the same image.
I am in bed late at night in my house near the airport listening to the jets fly overhead a strange wife sleeping beside me.
In my mind, the bedroom is an amalgamation of various cold medicine commercial sets (there is always a box of tissue on the nightstand).
I know these recurring news articles are clues, flaws in the design though I haven't figured out how to string them together yet, but I've begun to notice that the same people are dying over and over again, for instance Minnie Pearl who died this year for the fourth time in four years.
III three Today is the first day of Lent and once again I'm not really sure what it is.
How many more years will I let pass before I take the trouble to ask someone? It reminds of this morning when you were getting ready for work.
I was sitting by the space heater numbly watching you dress and when you asked why I never wear a robe I had so many good reasons I didn't know where to begin.
If you were cool in high school you didn't ask too many questions.
You could tell who'd been to last night's big metal concert by the new t-shirts in the hallway.
You didn't have to ask and that's what cool was: the ability to deduct to know without asking.
And the pressure to simulate coolness means not asking when you don't know, which is why kids grow ever more stupid.
A yearbook's endpages, filled with promises to stay in touch, stand as proof of the uselessness of a teenager's promise.
Not like I'm dying for a letter from the class stoner ten years on but.
.
.
Do you remember the way the girls would call out "love you!" conveniently leaving out the "I" as if they didn't want to commit to their own declarations.
I agree that the "I" is a pretty heavy concept and hope you won't get uncomfortable if I should go into some deeper stuff here.
IV four There are things I've given up on like recording funny answering machine messages.
It's part of growing older and the human race as a group has matured along the same lines.
It seems our comedy dates the quickest.
If you laugh out loud at Shakespeare's jokes I hope you won't be insulted if I say you're trying too hard.
Even sketches from the original Saturday Night Live seem slow-witted and obvious now.
It's just that our advances are irrepressible.
Nowadays little kids can't even set up lemonade stands.
It makes people too self-conscious about the past, though try explaining that to a kid.
I'm not saying it should be this way.
All this new technology will eventually give us new feelings that will never completely displace the old ones leaving everyone feeling quite nervous and split in two.
We will travel to Mars even as folks on Earth are still ripping open potato chip bags with their teeth.
Why? I don't have the time or intelligence to make all the connections like my friend Gordon (this is a true story) who grew up in Braintree Massachusetts and had never pictured a brain snagged in a tree until I brought it up.
He'd never broken the name down to its parts.
By then it was too late.
He had moved to Coral Gables.
V five The hill out my window is still looking beautiful suffused in a kind of gold national park light and it seems to say, I'm sorry the world could not possibly use another poem about Orpheus but I'm available if you're not working on a self-portrait or anything.
I'm watching my dog have nightmares, twitching and whining on the office floor and I try to imagine what beast has cornered him in the meadow where his dreams are set.
I'm just letting the day be what it is: a place for a large number of things to gather and interact -- not even a place but an occasion a reality for real things.
Friends warned me not to get too psychedelic or religious with this piece: "They won't accept it if it's too psychedelic or religious," but these are valid topics and I'm the one with the dog twitching on the floor possibly dreaming of me that part of me that would beat a dog for no good reason no reason that a dog could see.
I am trying to get at something so simple that I have to talk plainly so the words don't disfigure it and if it turns out that what I say is untrue then at least let it be harmless like a leaky boat in the reeds that is bothering no one.
VI six I can't trust the accuracy of my own memories, many of them having blended with sentimental telephone and margarine commercials plainly ruined by Madison Avenue though no one seems to call the advertising world "Madison Avenue" anymore.
Have they moved? Let's get an update on this.
But first I have some business to take care of.
I walked out to the hill behind our house which looks positively Alaskan today and it would be easier to explain this if I had a picture to show you but I was with our young dog and he was running through the tall grass like running through the tall grass is all of life together until a bird calls or he finds a beer can and that thing fills all the space in his head.
You see, his mind can only hold one thought at a time and when he finally hears me call his name he looks up and cocks his head and for a single moment my voice is everything: Self-portrait at 28.
Written by Philip Levine | Create an image from this poem

Call It Music

 Some days I catch a rhythm, almost a song
in my own breath.
I'm alone here in Brooklyn Heights, late morning, the sky above the St.
George Hotel clear, clear for New York, that is.
The radio playing "Bird Flight," Parker in his California tragic voice fifty years ago, his faltering "Lover Man" just before he crashed into chaos.
I would guess that outside the recording studio in Burbank the sun was high above the jacarandas, it was late March, the worst of yesterday's rain had come and gone, the sky washed blue.
Bird could have seen for miles if he'd looked, but what he saw was so foreign he clenched his eyes, shook his head, and barked like a dog--just once-- and then Howard McGhee took his arm and assured him he'd be OK.
I know this because Howard told me years later that he thought Bird could lie down in the hotel room they shared, sleep for an hour or more, and waken as himself.
The perfect sunlight angles into my little room above Willow Street.
I listen to my breath come and go and try to catch its curious taste, part milk, part iron, part blood, as it passes from me into the world.
This is not me, this is automatic, this entering and exiting, my body's essential occupation without which I am a thing.
The whole process has a name, a word I don't know, an elegant word not in English or Yiddish or Spanish, a word that means nothing to me.
Howard truly believed what he said that day when he steered Parker into a cab and drove the silent miles beside him while the bright world unfurled around them: filling stations, stands of fruits and vegetables, a kiosk selling trinkets from Mexico and the Philippines.
It was all so actual and Western, it was a new creation coming into being, like the music of Charlie Parker someone later called "glad," though that day I would have said silent, "the silent music of Charlie Parker.
" Howard said nothing.
He paid the driver and helped Bird up two flights to their room, got his boots off, and went out to let him sleep as the afternoon entered the history of darkness.
I'm not judging Howard, he did better than I could have now or then.
Then I was 19, working on the loading docks at Railway Express coming day by day into the damaged body of a man while I sang into the filthy air the Yiddish drinking songs my Zadie taught me before his breath failed.
Now Howard is gone, eleven long years gone, the sweet voice silenced.
"The subtle bridge between Eldridge and Navarro," they later wrote, all that rising passion a footnote to others.
I remember in '85 walking the halls of Cass Tech, the high school where he taught after his performing days, when suddenly he took my left hand in his two hands to tell me it all worked out for the best.
Maybe he'd gotten religion, maybe he knew how little time was left, maybe that day he was just worn down by my questions about Parker.
To him Bird was truly Charlie Parker, a man, a silent note going out forever on the breath of genius which now I hear soaring above my own breath as this bright morning fades into afternoon.
Music, I'll call it music.
It's what we need as the sun staggers behind the low gray clouds blowing relentlessly in from that nameless ocean, the calm and endless one I've still to cross.
Written by David Berman | Create an image from this poem

The Moon

 A web of sewer, pipe, and wire connects each house to the others.
In 206 a dog sleeps by the stove where a small gas leak causes him to have visions; visions that are rooted in nothing but gas.
Next door, a man who has decided to buy a car part by part excitedly unpacks a wheel and an ashtray.
He arranges them every which way.
It’s really beginning to take shape.
Out the garage window he sees a group of ugly children enter the forest.
Their mouths look like coin slots.
A neighbor plays keyboards in a local cover band.
Preparing for an engagement at the high school prom, they pack their equipment in silence.
Last night they played the Police Academy Ball and all the officers slow-danced with target range silhouettes.
This year the theme for the prom is the Tetragrammaton.
A yellow Corsair sails through the disco parking lot and swaying palms presage the lot of young libertines.
Inside the car a young lady wears a corsage of bullet-sized rodents.
Her date, the handsome cornerback, stretches his talons over the molded steering wheel.
They park and walk into the lush starlit gardens behind the disco just as the band is striking up.
Their keen eyes and ears twitch.
The other couples look beautiful tonight.
They stroll around listening to the brilliant conversation.
The passionate speeches.
Clouds drift across the silverware.
There is red larkspur, blue gum, and ivy.
A boy kneels before his date.
And the moon, I forgot to mention the moon.
Written by Billy Collins | Create an image from this poem

Marginalia

 Sometimes the notes are ferocious,
skirmishes against the author
raging along the borders of every page
in tiny black script.
If I could just get my hands on you, Kierkegaard, or Conor Cruise O'Brien, they seem to say, I would bolt the door and beat some logic into your head.
Other comments are more offhand, dismissive - "Nonsense.
" "Please!" "HA!!" - that kind of thing.
I remember once looking up from my reading, my thumb as a bookmark, trying to imagine what the person must look like why wrote "Don't be a ninny" alongside a paragraph in The Life of Emily Dickinson.
Students are more modest needing to leave only their splayed footprints along the shore of the page.
One scrawls "Metaphor" next to a stanza of Eliot's.
Another notes the presence of "Irony" fifty times outside the paragraphs of A Modest Proposal.
Or they are fans who cheer from the empty bleachers, Hands cupped around their mouths.
"Absolutely," they shout to Duns Scotus and James Baldwin.
"Yes.
" "Bull's-eye.
" "My man!" Check marks, asterisks, and exclamation points rain down along the sidelines.
And if you have managed to graduate from college without ever having written "Man vs.
Nature" in a margin, perhaps now is the time to take one step forward.
We have all seized the white perimeter as our own and reached for a pen if only to show we did not just laze in an armchair turning pages; we pressed a thought into the wayside, planted an impression along the verge.
Even Irish monks in their cold scriptoria jotted along the borders of the Gospels brief asides about the pains of copying, a bird signing near their window, or the sunlight that illuminated their page- anonymous men catching a ride into the future on a vessel more lasting than themselves.
And you have not read Joshua Reynolds, they say, until you have read him enwreathed with Blake's furious scribbling.
Yet the one I think of most often, the one that dangles from me like a locket, was written in the copy of Catcher in the Rye I borrowed from the local library one slow, hot summer.
I was just beginning high school then, reading books on a davenport in my parents' living room, and I cannot tell you how vastly my loneliness was deepened, how poignant and amplified the world before me seemed, when I found on one page A few greasy looking smears and next to them, written in soft pencil- by a beautiful girl, I could tell, whom I would never meet- "Pardon the egg salad stains, but I'm in love.
"
Written by Amy Lowell | Create an image from this poem

Number 3 on the Docket

 The lawyer, are you?
Well! I ain't got nothin' to say.
Nothin'! I told the perlice I hadn't nothin'.
They know'd real well 'twas me.
Ther warn't no supposin', Ketchin' me in the woods as they did, An' me in my house dress.
Folks don't walk miles an' miles In the drifted snow, With no hat nor wrap on 'em Ef everythin's all right, I guess.
All right? Ha! Ha! Ha! Nothin' warn't right with me.
Never was.
Oh, Lord! Why did I do it? Why ain't it yesterday, and Ed here agin? Many's the time I've set up with him nights When he had cramps, or rheumatizm, or somethin'.
I used ter nurse him same's ef he was a baby.
I wouldn't hurt him, I love him! Don't you dare to say I killed him.
'Twarn't me! Somethin' got aholt o' me.
I couldn't help it.
Oh, what shall I do! What shall I do! Yes, Sir.
No, Sir.
I beg your pardon, I -- I -- Oh, I'm a wicked woman! An' I'm desolate, desolate! Why warn't I struck dead or paralyzed Afore my hands done it.
Oh, my God, what shall I do! No, Sir, ther ain't no extenuatin' circumstances, An' I don't want none.
I want a bolt o' lightnin' To strike me dead right now! Oh, I'll tell yer.
But it won't make no diff'rence.
Nothin' will.
Yes, I killed him.
Why do yer make me say it? It's cruel! Cruel! I killed him because o' th' silence.
The long, long silence, That watched all around me, And he wouldn't break it.
I tried to make him, Time an' agin, But he was terrible taciturn, Ed was.
He never spoke 'cept when he had to, An' then he'd only say "yes" and "no".
You can't even guess what that silence was.
I'd hear it whisperin' in my ears, An' I got frightened, 'twas so thick, An' al'ays comin' back.
Ef Ed would ha' talked sometimes It would ha' driven it away; But he never would.
He didn't hear it same as I did.
You see, Sir, Our farm was off'n the main road, And set away back under the mountain; And the village was seven mile off, Measurin' after you'd got out o' our lane.
We didn't have no hired man, 'Cept in hayin' time; An' Dane's place, That was the nearest, Was clear way 'tother side the mountain.
They used Marley post-office An' ours was Benton.
Ther was a cart-track took yer to Dane's in Summer, An' it warn't above two mile that way, But it warn't never broke out Winters.
I used to dread the Winters.
Seem's ef I couldn't abear to see the golden-rod bloomin'; Winter'd come so quick after that.
You don't know what snow's like when yer with it Day in an' day out.
Ed would be out all day loggin', An' I set at home and look at the snow Layin' over everythin'; It 'ud dazzle me blind, Till it warn't white any more, but black as ink.
Then the quiet 'ud commence rushin' past my ears Till I most went mad listenin' to it.
Many's the time I've dropped a pan on the floor Jest to hear it clatter.
I was most frantic when dinner-time come An' Ed was back from the woods.
I'd ha' give my soul to hear him speak.
But he'd never say a word till I asked him Did he like the raised biscuits or whatever, An' then sometimes he'd jest nod his answer.
Then he'd go out agin, An' I'd watch him from the kitchin winder.
It seemed the woods come marchin' out to meet him An' the trees 'ud press round him an' hustle him.
I got so I was scared o' th' trees.
I thought they come nearer, Every day a little nearer, Closin' up round the house.
I never went in t' th' woods Winters, Though in Summer I liked 'em well enough.
It warn't so bad when my little boy was with us.
He used to go sleddin' and skatin', An' every day his father fetched him to school in the pung An' brought him back agin.
We scraped an' scraped fer Neddy, We wanted him to have a education.
We sent him to High School, An' then he went up to Boston to Technology.
He was a minin' engineer, An' doin' real well, A credit to his bringin' up.
But his very first position ther was an explosion in the mine.
And I'm glad! I'm glad! He ain't here to see me now.
Neddy! Neddy! I'm your mother still, Neddy.
Don't turn from me like that.
I can't abear it.
I can't! I can't! What did you say? Oh, yes, Sir.
I'm here.
I'm very sorry, I don't know what I'm sayin'.
No, Sir, Not till after Neddy died.
'Twas the next Winter the silence come, I don't remember noticin' it afore.
That was five year ago, An' it's been gittin' worse an' worse.
I asked Ed to put in a telephone.
I thought ef I felt the whisperin' comin' on I could ring up some o' th' folks.
But Ed wouldn't hear of it.
He said we'd paid so much for Neddy We couldn't hardly git along as 'twas.
An' he never understood me wantin' to talk.
Well, this year was worse'n all the others; We had a terrible spell o' stormy weather, An' the snow lay so thick You couldn't see the fences even.
Out o' doors was as flat as the palm o' my hand, Ther warn't a hump or a holler Fer as you could see.
It was so quiet The snappin' o' the branches back in the wood-lot Sounded like pistol shots.
Ed was out all day Same as usual.
An' it seemed he talked less'n ever.
He didn't even say `Good-mornin'', once or twice, An' jest nodded or shook his head when I asked him things.
On Monday he said he'd got to go over to Benton Fer some oats.
I'd oughter ha' gone with him, But 'twas washin' day An' I was afeared the fine weather'd break, An' I couldn't do my dryin'.
All my life I'd done my work punctual, An' I couldn't fix my conscience To go junketin' on a washin'-day.
I can't tell you what that day was to me.
It dragged an' dragged, Fer ther warn't no Ed ter break it in the middle Fer dinner.
Every time I stopped stirrin' the water I heerd the whisperin' all about me.
I stopped oftener'n I should To see ef 'twas still ther, An' it al'ays was.
An' gittin' louder It seemed ter me.
Once I threw up the winder to feel the wind.
That seemed most alive somehow.
But the woods looked so kind of menacin' I closed it quick An' started to mangle's hard's I could, The squeakin' was comfortin'.
Well, Ed come home 'bout four.
I seen him down the road, An' I run out through the shed inter th' barn To meet him quicker.
I hollered out, `Hullo!' But he didn't say nothin', He jest drove right in An' climbed out o' th' sleigh An' commenced unharnessin'.
I asked him a heap o' questions; Who he'd seed An' what he'd done.
Once in a while he'd nod or shake, But most o' th' time he didn't do nothin'.
'Twas gittin' dark then, An' I was in a state, With the loneliness An' Ed payin' no attention Like somethin' warn't livin'.
All of a sudden it come, I don't know what, But I jest couldn't stand no more.
It didn't seem 's though that was Ed, An' it didn't seem as though I was me.
I had to break a way out somehow, Somethin' was closin' in An' I was stiflin'.
Ed's loggin' axe was ther, An' I took it.
Oh, my God! I can't see nothin' else afore me all the time.
I run out inter th' woods, Seemed as ef they was pullin' me; An' all the time I was wadin' through the snow I seed Ed in front of me Where I'd laid him.
An' I see him now.
There! There! What you holdin' me fer? I want ter go to Ed, He's bleedin'.
Stop holdin' me.
I got to go.
I'm comin', Ed.
I'll be ther in a minit.
Oh, I'm so tired! (Faints)
Written by Edgar Bowers | Create an image from this poem

Mary

 The angel of self-discipline, her guardian
Since she first knew and had to go away
From home that spring to have her child with strangers,
Sustained her, till the vanished boy next door
And her ordeal seemed fiction, and the true
Her mother’s firm insistence she was the mother
And the neighbors’ acquiescence.
So she taught school, Walking a mile each way to ride the street car— First books of the Aeneid known by heart, French, and the French Club Wednesday afternoon; Then summer replacement typist in an office, Her sister’s family moving in with them, Depression years and she the only earner.
Saturday, football game and opera broadcasts, Sunday, staying at home to wash her hair, The Business Women’s Circle Monday night, And, for a treat, birthdays and holidays, Nelson Eddy and Jeanette McDonald.
The young blond sister long since gone to college, Nephew and nieces gone, her mother dead, Instead of Caesar, having to teach First Aid, The students rowdy, she retired.
The rent For the empty rooms she gave to Thornwell Orphanage, Unwed Mothers, Temperance, and Foster Parents And never bought the car she meant to buy; Too blind at last to do much more than sit All day in the antique glider on the porch Listening to cars pass up and down the street.
Each summer, on the grass behind the house— Cape jasmine, with its scent of August nights Humid and warm, the soft magnolia bloom Marked lightly by a slow brown stain—she spread, For airing, the same small intense collection, Concert programs, worn trophies, years of yearbooks, Letters from schoolgirl chums, bracelets of hair And the same picture: black hair in a bun, Puzzled eyes in an oval face as young Or old as innocence, skirt to the ground, And, seated on the high school steps, the class, The ones to whom she would have said, “Seigneur, Donnez-nous la force de supporter La peine,” as an example easy to remember, Formal imperative, object first person plural.
Written by Audre Lorde | Create an image from this poem

Inheritance—His

 I.
My face resembles your face less and less each day.
When I was young no one mistook whose child I was.
Features build coloring alone among my creamy fine-boned sisters marked me Byron's daughter.
No sun set when you died, but a door opened onto my mother.
After you left she grieved her crumpled world aloft an iron fist sweated with business symbols a printed blotter dwell in the house of Lord's your hollow voice changing down a hospital corridor yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil.
II.
I rummage through the deaths you lived swaying on a bridge of question.
At seven in Barbados dropped into your unknown father's life your courage vault from his tailor's table back to the sea.
Did the Grenada treeferns sing your 15th summer as you jumped ship to seek your mother finding her too late surrounded with new sons? Who did you bury to become the enforcer of the law the handsome legend before whose raised arm even trees wept a man of deep and wordless passion who wanted sons and got five girls? You left the first two scratching in a treefern's shade the youngest is a renegade poet searching for your answer in my blood.
My mother's Grenville tales spin through early summer evenings.
But you refused to speak of home of stepping proud Black and penniless into this land where only white men ruled by money.
How you labored in the docks of the Hotel Astor your bright wife a chambermaid upstairs welded love and survival to ambition as the land of promise withered crashed the hotel closed and you peddle dawn-bought apples from a push-cart on Broadway.
Does an image of return wealthy and triumphant warm your chilblained fingers as you count coins in the Manhattan snow or is it only Linda who dreams of home? When my mother's first-born cries for milk in the brutal city winter do the faces of your other daughters dim like the image of the treeferned yard where a dark girl first cooked for you and her ash heap still smells of curry? III.
Did the secret of my sisters steal your tongue like I stole money from your midnight pockets stubborn and quaking as you threaten to shoot me if I am the one? The naked lightbulbs in our kitchen ceiling glint off your service revolver as you load whispering.
Did two little dark girls in Grenada dart like flying fish between your averted eyes and my pajamaless body our last adolescent summer? Eavesdropped orations to your shaving mirror our most intense conversations were you practicing how to tell me of my twin sisters abandoned as you had been abandoned by another Black woman seeking her fortune Grenada Barbados Panama Grenada.
New York City.
IV.
You bought old books at auctions for my unlanguaged world gave me your idols Marcus Garvey Citizen Kane and morsels from your dinner plate when I was seven.
I owe you my Dahomeyan jaw the free high school for gifted girls no one else thought I should attend and the darkness that we share.
Our deepest bonds remain the mirror and the gun.
V.
An elderly Black judge known for his way with women visits this island where I live shakes my hand, smiling.
"I knew your father," he says "quite a man!" Smiles again.
I flinch at his raised eyebrow.
A long-gone woman's voice lashes out at me in parting "You will never be satisfied until you have the whole world in your bed!" Now I am older than you were when you died overwork and silence exploding your brain.
You are gradually receding from my face.
Who were you outside the 23rd Psalm? Knowing so little how did I become so much like you? Your hunger for rectitude blossoms into rage the hot tears of mourning never shed for you before your twisted measurements the agony of denial the power of unshared secrets.
Written by Randall Jarrell | Create an image from this poem

Losses

 It was not dying: everybody died.
It was not dying: we had died before In the routine crashes-- and our fields Called up the papers, wrote home to our folks, And the rates rose, all because of us.
We died on the wrong page of the almanac, Scattered on mountains fifty miles away; Diving on haystacks, fighting with a friend, We blazed up on the lines we never saw.
We died like aunts or pets or foreigners.
(When we left high school nothing else had died For us to figure we had died like.
) In our new planes, with our new crews, we bombed The ranges by the desert or the shore, Fired at towed targets, waited for our scores-- And turned into replacements and worke up One morning, over England, operational.
It wasn't different: but if we died It was not an accident but a mistake (But an easy one for anyone to make.
) We read our mail and counted up our missions-- In bombers named for girls, we burned The cities we had learned about in school-- Till our lives wore out; our bodies lay among The people we had killed and never seen.
When we lasted long enough they gave us medals; When we died they said, "Our casualties were low.
" The said, "Here are the maps"; we burned the cities.
It was not dying --no, not ever dying; But the night I died I dreamed that I was dead, And the cities said to me: "Why are you dying? We are satisfied, if you are; but why did I die?"
Written by D A Levy | Create an image from this poem

Reality Jew

When i was a little kid
my parents never told me
i didn't find out until
i got out of high school
then when people asked me,
I ASKED THEM,
"Nationality or Religion?"

When i was a little kid
my parents brought me up as a christian
that when i discovered,
i was different
i wasnt THAT sick!
so at sixteen
still being a virgin forest
i decided
i must be a buddhist monk,
Then when people asked me
I TOLD THEM, i told them
"Not me, man, i don't belong to No-thing

In the navy
a swabby once asked me,
if i wanted to go to the
temple with him,
i told him
"NOt me, man, im the last
of the full blooded american indians.
" it became confusing so after a while when people inquired "Hey.
.
ah.
.
you arnt……are you?" i answered, "with a name like levy, what the hell do you think i am?" A Ritz Cracker? A flying bathtub? An arab? etc.
But now its getting pretty hip to be a jew and some of my best friend are becoming converted to halavah, even the crones who suddenly became World War 2 catholics are now praising bagels & lox i still dont feel on ethnic things like "Ok, we all niggers so lets hold hands.
" & "OK, we're all wops so lets support the mafia," & "Ok, we're all jews so lets weep on each others shoulders.
" so now when people smile and say, "Hey, you're one of us," i smile and say, "**** you, man, im still alive.
"
Written by Eamon Grennan | Create an image from this poem

Song

 At her Junior High School graduation,
she sings alone
in front of the lot of us--

her voice soprano, surprising,
almost a woman's.
It is the Our Father in French, the new language making her strange, out there, fully fledged and ready for anything.
Sitting together -- her separated mother and father -- we can hear the racket of traffic shaking the main streets of Jersey City as she sings Deliver us from evil, and I wonder can she see me in the dark here, years from belief, on the edge of tears.
It doesn't matter.
She doesn't miss a beat, keeps in time, in tune, while into our common silence I whisper, Sing, love, sing your heart out!
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