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Daniel Nester

Late Anniversary Madrigal

May you find help from action figures I keep.
May you find them in the top drawer
And bring them out while you sleep
And I welcome darkness--
The flickering TV, helicopters
hopscotched overhead.

May these nightdolls help you,
When every questionnaire questions you,
When diagonal smoke
Mafficks treetops.
Use this antidote liberally.
May your walk to the F train be not alone.

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There's Got To Be A Morning After

I heard it once, smoothed-out
by gallons of coffee,
chest husking like a plow
and pulled it into a basement.
Cardigan-wrapped the next morning
and only then was it true, only then
was I so hungry I could eat at the roots of it,

and lay down like a napping aristocrat
dreaming of pendulums
potbellied, empurpled,
pissing outside, and my
boombox played it again, its notes
encircled by my poor shy ghosts
made quiet speeches to the wind
saluted this song's toasting.

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Deaf Rush Limbaugh's Macaronic Blues

Soon I'll hear your voices, people,
and you'll sound like Donald Duck.
I'll hear every car horn honk,
every plink and plunk and plonk.
And you'll sound like Donald Duck--
one voice, indistinguishable, under God.
Every plink and plunk and plonk.
Comprised of pitches and lengths,
One voice, indistinguishable, under God.
It was like free jazz there towards the end,
Just comprised of pitches and different lengths.
Soon I'll hear your voices, people,
every immigrant, businessman, pundit.
And you all sound like Donald Duck.

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Suspicious Minds

Lately I've sat here afternoons
just listening to the
gluttonous newsmen argue

about fathers who kill
their wives and kids
then spirit off to Mexico.

My life's knee-deep
in fathers, embedded
in my own shaky tenor,

and though mine's as good as dead
my life still wakes up and pees.
My world's still on fire.

If I could be anywhere else
in the world, if I could be anything
but ham-handed today, I could cheer on

[...] Read more

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Notes On An Unadorned Night

after Rene Char

Let's agree that the night is a blank canvas, a station
break, a bridge of a song.

Let's agree further that activities at night—movies,
campfires, reading by a lamp—are all
basically an homage to the day.

I have come to regard these two statements as
contradictory. Let me explain.

First, set aside that one could see a movie, torch a fire,
and read with the sun blazing over us.

The in-between aspect of night need not spark a flurry of
activity, is all I'm saying.

You could do nothing at night! Just lay and sleep!

[...] Read more

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