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Vassar Miller



no gentleman with

the stink of his sweat

and flatulent guts,

not pausing to dry

his boots on the mat

of a metaphor,

he tramples the nerves,

squats down in the mind,

picking the bones of

courage and honor.

A Rage for Order for Rose

From my back porch I’m watching God’s housekeeping

And think you wouldn’t want Him in your house:

No Lordy! Like them mens, no good at sweeping,

And look, just will you, all those leaves fly loose!

That great big broom God makes those old fall winds with

Like He ain’t thought about nobody’s yard.

Those clouds! Not fit to dry your hands with,

No wonder you could slap a tree trunk hard!

And, say, don’t tell you how God wastes some comet,

And spends a million years on one amoeba

When you could, —Lord, have mercy ain’t no limit—

You go and close your window—just how He be.

And now, be-hold! God gets Hisself a few

Dobabs all throwed around

                                                            and dear like you.


walked off and left me

just like any no-good man.

He left my thoughts,

so many little bare-assed kids

gawking at one another

up in my attic,

this creaky old house full of night noises.


You ever see that bastard,

you tell him he won’t find a love

good as mine.

What Really Happens

We are the cat who worries time away,

tossing it hither, thunk, and thither, thwack,

tail twitching, while between its paws its prey

flops back and forth and back

until the feline master of the house,

with time, poor thing routinely mauled to sweeten

monotony, forgets that time’s the mouse

that kills in being eaten.

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