Poems | Inhuman Swill | William Shunn
Poems
            

Nail salon workers
Lined up in a row of five
Taking a selfie

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Uh-oh! Oreo!

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Oreo mayhem
Oreo packet,
rip'd open and crush'd on the
subway floor. Tragic.

—for the kid in all of us

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Springtime in Manhattan

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Tourists in Times Square
Blocking the sidewalk to gape
At an ambulance

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Taxonomy

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Little neighbor girl
Waving to a cardinal:
"Parrot! Hi, parrot!"

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This poem debuted live at Tuesday Funk #48 in Chicago on September 4, 2012, the same day it was written. I've submitted it to a few editors since then, but since they (probably sensibly) turned it down, my birthday present to myself is to publish it here.

It was the early 23rd and I was just the latest turd
Of a miner to get dumped on Harkin's Moon.
I had finished my first shift and took the slow repulsor lift
Up to a weightless bar called Betsy's Grand Saloon.

We were sipping bulbs of beer in artificial atmosphere
And watching servers flit around that hollow space.
My hair still caked with sand, I said the place it sure was grand,
And my new buddies smirked and pointed 'cross the place.

"You see that mope sitting alone like some sad king up on his throne?"
They said. "That bastard is the grandest of the grand.
And if you go and ask him why and make it back, why, then we'll buy
Your drinks all night, and we'll know you're a real man."

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Share the wealth

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Homeless man feeding
his McDonald's French fries to
pigeons. Share the wealth.

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Just resting

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Dead squirrel lies prone,
Chin resting on its two paws.
Looks like it's sleeping.

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4 across

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senior citizens
holding hands like preschoolers
blocking the sidewalk

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Memory Lane

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Their former stoop
She strains at the leash,
Trying to turn the corner.
"Not that way," I say.

But Ella insists,
So I give in and follow.
Not that big a deal.

This short, narrow lane,
It's a valid path back home,
Not such a detour.

Along the sidewalk
We rush, my arm stretched out straight,
Not pausing to sniff.

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The trade-off

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Maggie Thatcher's dead,
but so is Roger Ebert.
Always a trade-off.

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