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September 19, 2010


Long ago, just after the Pleistocene era, but still long before computers, somebody started "The Great American Poem" project, in which, over the course of a number of years, "the poem" would be sent to individual poets who would then add one line to it. I think it was eventually printed in ANTAEUS magazine, but of course that was long before I was born, so I could be wrong. I don't remember much of it except Don Justice's line: "Diamonds are being smuggled from the mines in wounds." And I think one of the Ron poets (Silliman? Koertge?) wrote the line, "and." Or something like that; I was always bad at memorizing.

Then Don Hall growled in his beard and said painters and sculptors can live and work well into their 80s if they avoid arteriosclerosis. And Ron Padgett said, Look at the building! And Don Revell said But. And Ron Sukenick walked past McSorley's. And Don Justice played ping-pong. And Ron Loewinsohn said nothing but he spelled it ntohing. And Don Diego (Zorro) told Ron Rico you no need to go Cuba to drink Bacardi. "But."

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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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