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David Lehman Short Poems

Famous Short David Lehman Poems. Short poetry by famous poet David Lehman. A collection of the all-time best David Lehman short poems


by David Lehman
 What I propose is not 
 Marxism, which 
 is not dead yet in 
 the English department, 
Not maximalism, which was 
 a still-born alternative 
 to minimalism, 
Nor Maxism, which rests on 
 adulation of Max 
 Beerbohm, parodist 
 nonpareil, 
But maximism, the love 
 of adages, 
Or Maximism, the advocacy of 
 maximum gastronomic 
 pleasure on the model 
 of a meal at Maxim's 
 in Paris in, say, 1950.
Is that clear?



by David Lehman
 Remember when Khrushchev said
"We will bury you!"
on the cover
of Time
I thought he was
employing a metaphor
as in "Braves Scalp Giants!"
on the back page
of the Daily News
I pictured the Russians
burying us under a mound
of all the rubble
that rubles could buy
when what he meant was
he had come not to praise Caesar
but to bury him

by David Lehman
 Nothing extends a phone
call more effectively than
saying you're on your way out
but she wants to tell you
the five things she requires
in a man one is intelligence
he must have a brain
also he must be good a term
she likes because it embraces both
the opposite of evil and "good in
bed" and you admire the way
she skillfully maneuvered the
conversation to the sex lives
of jazz fans who live in the Village
and the enduring validity
of the Cyrano story and so
well you wish you didn't have to go

by David Lehman
 We have a name for it 
in the South: 
asshole buddies.
It means we've known each other so long it doesn't matter that he's an asshole in my opinion or I'm an asshole in his opinion or whatever And I want you to know I'm not from the South and you're not my buddy and it doesn't matter

by David Lehman
 It's the day of the ram
and the head of the year
Rosh Ha'Shanah at
services I sat next to
Mel Torme who outshone
all comers with his bar
mitzvah heroics while on
my left is Barnett Newman
big talker whose favorite
subjects include the horses
and the stock market he
knows the odds the women
are seated upstairs this is
an orthodox congregation
very serious I make
eye contact with the wife
of Menelaus who runs off
with Paris confident I'm Paris.



by David Lehman
 When my father
Said mein Fehler
I thought it meant
"I'm a failure"
which was my error
which is what
mein Fehler means
in German which
is what my parents
spoke at home

by David Lehman
 (July 15) 

We know who 
the guards are 
in those POW 
movies with brutal 
but easy to 
fool fat Germans 
or sadistic Japanese 
who never smiled 
they're the grown-ups 
we're the kids 
that's the secret

by David Lehman
 The wonderful thing
about being with
you in this hotel
lift in London full
of people is that none
of them knows what you
and I are about to do
in bed or possibly
on the floor in fact not
even you realize yet
how much you're going
to enjoy this act for
which we have no name
not clinical or hideous, just
a double digit number, perfect
as a skater's figure eight

by David Lehman
 What is it about the Abyss 
that tempts the young poet to kiss 
the air and head for the nearest cliff? This 
unreasonable attachment to the bliss 
of falling -- what accounts for it? Unlike the hiss 
announcing a reptilian presence, the word Abyss 
creates the object of our dread: it exists, it is, 
widening like the gulf between whis- 
key and wine, and we, drunk on neither, miss 
the days when we, too, tumbled headlong out of heaven, pissed

by David Lehman
 for J.
A.
, December 3, 1975 Ashes that survive the aftermath of fire Bury the past bravely, retaining Only those messages that are least decipherable And therefore most desirable To be sung by the bright-eyed few remaining Voices of our frankly foolish choir.