June 2, 2003

Three poems by Ted Berrigan:

WHAT I'D LIKE FOR CHRISTMAS, 1970

Black brothers to get happy
The Puerto Ricans to say hello
The old folks to take it easy &
as it comes
The United States to get straight
Power to butt out
Money to fuck off
Business with honor
Religion
& Art
Love
A home
A typewriter
A GUN.

SUNDAY MORNING (for Lou Reed)

1.
It's a fact
If you stroke a cat about 1,000,000 times, you will
generate enough electricity to light up the largest
American flag in the world for about one minute.
2.
Turnabout
In former times people who committed adultery got stoned;
Nowadays it's just a crashing bringdown.

3.
A Mongolian Sausage
By definition: a long stocking; you fill it full of shit,
and then you punch holes in it. Then you swing it over
your head in circles until everybody goes home.

A CERTAIN SLANT OF SUNLIGHT

In Africa the wine is cheap, and it is
on St. Mark's Place too, beneath a white moon.
I'll go there tomorrow, dark bulk hooded
against what is hurled down at me in my no hat
which is weather: the tall pretty girl in the print dress
under the fur collar of her cloth coat will be standing
by the wire fence where the wild flowers grown not too tall
her eyes will be deep brown and her hair styled 1941 American
will be too, but
I'll be shattered by then
But now I'm not and can also picture white clouds
impossibly high in blue sky over small boy heartbroken
to be dressed in black knickers, black coat, white shirt,
buster-brown collar, flowing black bow-tie
her hand lightly fallen on his shoulder, faded sunlight falling
across the picture, mother & son, 33 & 7, First Communion Day, 1941 --
I'll go out for a drink with one of my demons tonight
they are dry in Colorado 1980 spring snow.

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