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September 11, 2010

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Recently, in a group setting, I met a man, an older man, let's call him C. for confidentiality purposes, and walked up to him, and said "Sir, it would be an honor to shake your hand, for having been a classmate of Robert Lowell." I was indecisive about whether my own use of classmate was ironic or literal, but he corrected me, and it was clear he no longer had any interest in talking about Robert Lowell with me, or even Isaac Newton for that matter. He did tell about some other classmates of his, and explained how he felt partially responsible for this suicide. "They printed her picture in the paper when she got into Cornell, she was such a beautiful girl, and I could have ridden my bike over to her house in Newton, it would have been so easy but I never did." "Yes," I said, doubting the bike ride would have helped, "when someone commits suicide everyone who's ever known them feels somewhat responsible." The conversation quickly devolved into how all girls, of all ages, are beautiful creatures, from granddaughters to grandmothers, and B. and I politely excused ourselves. I jealously watched as I. and P. continued the Isaac Newton thread with C. but contented myself with B. showing me how to overcome the pocket problem by using a bra for cellphone storage.

I think about those bumper stickers that say "Never Forget," and about all the anger and hate they came to represent. It's a precious commodity indeed, that's too fine to be posted on the rear of an SUV.

Damn! That Yankee could write!

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Radio

I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
                   

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman


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This Way Out

THE RULE OF THUMB
by T.P.Winch

Ringfinger was nervous
Pinky terrified
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.

 

 


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