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Poem: Tis Late



Of course the tall stringy woman
draped in a crocheted string-shawl
selling single red carnations
coned in newsprint the ones
she got at the cemetery
and resells with a god bless you
for a dollar that same woman
who thirty years ago
was a graduate student
in playwriting who can and will
recite "At the round earth's
imagined corners, blow--"
announces silently amidst her louder
announcements that the experiment
some amateurs mixed of
white fizzing democracy
with smoky purple capitalism
has failed. We already knew that.
Her madness is my madness
and this is my flower in a cone
of waste paper I stole from
someone's more authentic grief
but I will not bless you
as I have no spirit of commerce
and no returning customers
and do not as so many must
actually beg for my bread. It is another
accident of the lab explosion
that while most died and others lost legs
some of us are only vaguely queasy
at least for now
and of course mad conveniently mad
necessarily mad because
"tis late to ask for pardon" and
we were so carefully schooled
in false hope schooled
like the parrot who crooks her tongue
like a dirty finger
repeating what her flat bright eyes deny.

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