I’m Nobody! Who are you?
Are you – Nobody – too?
Then there’s a pair of us!
Don't tell! they'd advertise – you know!
How dreary – to be – Somebody!
How public – like a Frog –
To tell one’s name – the livelong June –
To an admiring Bog!
Poetry used by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from The Poems of Emily Dickinson, Ralph W. Franklin ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. Copyright © 1998 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
"I cannot go to school today,"
Said little Peggy Ann McKay.
"I have the measles and the mumps,
A gash, a rash and purple bumps.
My mouth is wet, my throat is dry,
I'm going blind in my right eye.
My tonsils are as big as rocks,
I've counted sixteen chicken pox
And there's one more—that's seventeen,
And don't you think my face looks green?
My leg is cut—my eyes are blue—
It might be instamatic flu.
I cough and sneeze and gasp and choke,
I'm sure that my left leg is broke—
My hip hurts when I move my chin,
My belly button's caving in,
My back is wrenched, my ankle's sprained,
My 'pendix pains each time it rains.
My nose is cold, my toes are numb.
I have a sliver in my thumb.
My neck is stiff, my voice is weak,
I hardly whisper when I speak.
My tongue is filling up my mouth,
I think my hair is falling out.
My elbow's bent, my spine ain't straight,
My temperature is one-o-eight.
My brain is shrunk, I cannot hear,
There is a hole inside my ear.
I have a hangnail, and my heart is—what?
What's that? What's that you say?
You say today is. . .Saturday?
G'bye, I'm going out to play!"
From Shel Silverstein: Poems and Drawings; originally appeared in Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein. Copyright © 2003 by HarperCollins Children's Books. Reprinted by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.
Pies have a reputation.
And it’s immediate—no talk of potential
Regarding a pie. It’s good
Or it isn’t, but mostly it is—sweet, very sweet
Right then, right there, blue and red.
It can’t go to junior college,
Work hard for the grades,
Work two jobs on the side.
It can’t slowly build a reputation
And a growing client base.
A pie gets one chance
And knows it, wearing as makeup
Those sparkling granules of sugar,
As a collar those diamond cutouts
Bespeaking Fair Day, felicity, contentment.
I tell you everything is great, says a pie,
Great, and fun, and fine.
And you smell nice, too, someone says.
A full pound of round sound, all ahh, all good.
Pies live a life of applause.
But then there are the other pies.
The leftover pies. The ones
Nobody chooses at Thanksgiving.
Mincemeat? What the hell is that? people ask,
Pointing instead at a double helping of Mr.
“I-can-do-no-wrong” pecan pie.
But the unchosen pies have a long history, too.
They have plenty of good stories, places they’ve been—
They were once fun, too—
But nobody wants to listen to them anymore.
Oh sure, everybody used to love lard,
But things have changed, brother—things have changed.
That’s never the end of the story, of course.
Some pies make a break for it—
Live underground for a while,
Doing what they can, talking fast,
Trying to be sweet pizzas, if they’re lucky.
But no good comes of it. Nobody is fooled.
A pie is a pie for one great day. Last week,
It was Jell-O. Tomorrow, it’ll be cake.
Originally published in The Dangerous Shirt (Copper Canyon Press, 2009). Copyright © by Alberto Ríos. Reprinted with the permission of the author.
Lateeka's working, my favorite teller—
she's got wild nail art & fire red/
In line: young guy in hi-tops w/ipod,
black blazer girl on her lunch hour.
Lateeka & I always talk hair & makeup,
she's in school for accounting.
A guy with 20-inch arms in a Hines Ward jersey/
cut off at the sleeves,
a white-haired woman with
a cane & her daughter
Restaurant guy walks up to the window
with a bagful of receipts—
the blonde teller working the line
leaves her post & exits side-door,
so it's Lateeka & people
roll their eyes & grumble:
Oh great, now there's only one teller up there.
Steeler guy shakes his head:
Jesus Christ, do you believe this?
Daughter to mother:
Why don't you sit down?
Blazer girl turns:
I'm late for an appointment.
Steeler guy waves his massive arms wide
like he's going out for a pass:
Hey, I got an idea—
why don't we shut this shit down & open up a bank?
We turn to see his arms jabbing the air
like he's trying to grab it down—
his neck red with rage.
He barrels out the door & we bust into
laughing, the air full with mutiny:
1 new spot open, we inch forward like
fat cattle, clutching our checks
a little less tightly.
We have won for the day,
we are sticking it to the man.
Copyright © 2015 by Jan Beatty. From The Switching/Yard (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013). Reprinted from Split This Rock’s The Quarry: A Social Justice Poetry Database.