E. McKnight Kauffer, Woods, 1938
— Anne Sexton
Be careful of words,
even the miraculous ones.
For the miraculous ones we do our best,
sometimes they swarm like insects
and leave not a sting but a kiss.
They can be good as fingers.
They can be trusty as the rock
you stick your bottom on.
But they can be both daisies and bruises.
Yet I am in love with words.
They are doves falling out of the ceiling.
They are six holy oranges sitting in my lap.
They are the trees, the legs of summer,
and the sun, its passionate face.
Yet often they fail me.
I have so much I want to say,
so many stories, images, proverbs, etc.
But the words aren’t good enough,
the wrong ones kiss me.
Sometimes I fly like an eagle
but with the wings of a wren.
But I try to take care
and be gentle to them.
Words and eggs must be handled with care.
Once broken they are impossible things to repair.
— Frank O’Hara
After the first glass of vodka
you can accept just about anything
of life even you own mysteriousness
you think it is nice that a box
of matches is purple and brown and is called
La Petite and comes from Sweden
for they are words that you know and that
is all you know words not their feelings
or what they mean and you write because
you know them not because you understand them
because you don’t you are stupid and lazy
and will never be great but you do
what you know because what else is there?
Capitalist Poem #5
— Campbell McGrath
I was at the 7-11.
I ate a burrito.
I drank a Slurpee.
I was tired.
It was late, after work — washing dishes.
The burrito was good.
I had another.
I did it every day for a week.
I did it every day for a month.
To cook a burrito you tear off the plastic wrapper.
You push button #3 on the microwave.
Burritos are large, small, or medium.
Red or green chili peppers.
Beef or bean or both.
There are 7-11’s all across the nation.
On the way out I bought a quart of beer for $1.39.
I was aware of social injustice
in only the vaguest possible way.
* * Contributor Andy Fox has worked as a private investigator and a bartender. He’s also edited a book of poetry and plays in the D.C. band Nice Breeze. He has published The Dust Congress since November 2002.