June 4, 2010

one of those bands got paid I heard
one of those bands got pai

Sandra Beasley reads her poem The Story (from her new book I Was The Jukebox: Poems)

-- by Lowell Jaeger

I once shoplifted
a tin of Vienna sausages.
Crouched in the aisle
as if to study the syllables
of preservatives, tore off the lid,
pulled out a wiener and sucked it down.

I've cheated on exams.
Made love to foldouts.
Walked my paper route in a snowstorm after dark,
so I could steal down a particular alley
where through her gauze curtains, a lady
lounged with her nightgown undone.

I've thrown sticks at stray dogs.
Ignored the cat scratching to come inside.
Even in the rain.
Sat for idle hours in front of the TV, and not two feet away
the philodendrons for lack of a glass of water
gasped and expired.

So many excuses I've concocted to get by.
Called in sick when I was not. Grabbed credit
for happy accidents I had no hand in.
Pointed fingers
to pin the innocent with crimes
unmistakably mine.

I have failed
to learn from grievous error.
Repeated gossip.
Invented gossip. Held hands
in a circle of friends to rejoice
over the misfortune of strangers.
Pushed over tombstones.
Danced the devil's jig.

Once, when I was barely old enough
to walk home on my own, I hid
behind an abandoned garage.
Counted sixteen windows.
Needed only four handfuls of stones
to break every one.

-- by Allen Ginsberg

It leaps about me, as I go out and walk the street, look back over my
shoulder. Seventh Avenue, the battlements of window office
buildings shouldering each other high, under a cloud, tall as the
sky an instant — and the sky above — an old blue place.

or down the Avenue to the South, to – as I walked toward the Lower
East Side – where you walked 50 years ago, little girl – from
Russia, eating the first poisonous tomatoes of America – frightened
on the dock –

then struggling in the crowds of Orchard Street toward what? – toward

toward candy store, first home-made sodas of the century, hand-churned
ice cream in backroom on musty brownfloor boards –

Toward education marriage nervous breakdown, operation, teaching
school, and learning to be mad, in a dream – what is this life?...

Ai! ai! we do worse! We are in a fix! And you're out, Death let you out.
Death had the Mercy, you're done with your century, done with
God, done with the path thru it – Done with yourself at last—
Pure – Black to the Babe dark before your Father, before us all—
before the world—

There, rest. No more suffering for you. I know where you've gone, it's


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