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« from “The Hitchcocks” [by Peter Ferry] | Main | What's Your Favorite Film Noir? (with Suzanne Lummis and David Lehman] »

December 03, 2023


Break my heart with language in a poem I won't forget.

Bravo. Hell of a fine poem.

Love this poem!...

treat him low//or be treated so myself...

The honest and terrible survival of middle school.


Hypnotic. The two boys so secretly alive over the stall toilet seat, yet each so hurt. It’s hard to decide which boy is the most hurt –the traitor or the tack reared – both in a one light town. And the chilling image of the Christian school at the end comes like a death sentence doubling down the one-light narrowness of their world.

Stunning poem!!

Painfully hits the mark, with restraint and truth. Yes, heart-breaking, and admirable.

I second what Denise and Nin said. Nice tux, too.

This is a powerful poem. It made me sad.


I'm typing this through tears. It's a wonderful poem and it hits home. I too was a traitor in elementary school--where it seemed like the way not to get picked on (my speech was "stuck-up" by PS 56 kid standdards) was to be one of the ones who picked on the even-more-downtrodden.

Wonderful poem -- the terrible pain and loneliness and guilt, lucidly painful.

My own Boy Scout years paralleled my late elementary school years. I rose through the ranks of Scout, Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, and Life. Eagle, of course, was the pinnacle, but the onset of high school, the advance of puberty, and a growing fascination with female classmates put the Eagle fluttering out of my reach. It was a relief. But I still remember the “Scout Oath”: “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country, to obey the Scout Law, to help other people at all times, and to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.” The twelve points of the “Scout Law” also mysteriously swim back to my mind: “A scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” Why do I still know all that? Even back then, I thought those rotely uttered pledges sounded more like indoctrination than inspiration. And I also witnessed Boy Scout behavior too often not in keeping with those precepts. Jesse Nathan’s poignant, powerful poem “Scouts” summoned that not-quite-so-innocent time and ethos back to me. Pubescent boys can be very cruel, especially where character-testing turf wars are waged, whether openly or furtively. Betrayals can proliferate, and the hollow bravado of humiliating an easy-target classmate to impress a clique can leave scars on both perpetrator and victim. Neither of the two boys at the center of Jesse Nathan’s ultimately heartbreaking poem escapes loss, whether inflicted, suffered, or both. “Scouts” is eight quatrains of vivid characterization, disquietingly brilliant insight, and uncannily deft craft. It’s not a poem easy to shake, nor should we.

March 28, 2023 (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Tuesday affirmed the Boy Scouts of America's $2.46 billion settlement of decades of sex abuse claims, rejecting appeals by some of the group's insurers and abuse claimants.

U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews in Wilmington, Delaware, ruled that the Boy Scouts agreement, which would create the largest sexual abuse settlement fund in U.S. history, was a good faith effort to resolve claims by more than 80,000 men who say they were abused as children by troop leaders.

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That Ship Has Sailed
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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


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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