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Lawrence Beck

Look Over There

How long must I languish here
Before I try to slink away?
When will that woman turn her
Head, so I can turn, and we both
Can recover from our grave mistake:
Assuming superficial heat would
Lead to lasting warmth?

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Here's How it Works

A piece of paper, filed somewhere, tells you
All you need to know: we own, poor sap,
And you do not, and, thus, though we don't
Lift a finger, we're entitled to a share of
Anything that you produce, and, should
You find yourself in need, you'll have to
Sign another paper making clear that you've
Surrendered more to us to own.

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Doug The Thug Calls It Quits

I admit that I paid my friend Tony to stab you,
And run back to me with your purse.
He's usually nicer, but I said he had to,
Or I'd break his arm or much worse.
I guess that this means that it's over between us.
I'm sorry, Don't stand there and moan.
Go home to your parents. Say I am egregious,
But, first, will you give me a loan?

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Laissez Faire

A stranger's desperation shouldn't be of much
Concern to you. This is what we all are told
By those who know no desperation, having
Found the means to gather profits from what
We produce. 'You're on your own, ' they say,
And laugh, 'though we are not, but never mind.
This world works in splendid fashion, you for
Us, and you, a stranger, aren't of much concern.'

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Lovey-Dovey

Must we face such fog and nonsense?
I'm not sorry you're in love, but spare me,
Spare us all, the gush of souls alloyed
And singing angels. Also, spare us,
When it's over, pits of hell and thunder
Crashing. You'll get by, and, being young,
Are sure to find somebody else whose
Eyes (and hands) will deeply probe,
And, in the process, I'm afraid,
Precipitate more fog.

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Oblivious

I should have asked her why she was here.
I didn't. I should have taken notice of the
Times, so many, when I turned to see her
Turn her eyes from me, and should
Have known that she, who seemed to
Linger near, would have remained the
Afternoon if I had shown I wished it so.
She left without a backward glance with
Someone else, and, when they'd gone, a friend
Said, 'She was here for you, you fool.'

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In the Storm's Eye

Don't go. There's still some coffee left,
And, look, it seems about to rain,
And have you read this morning's
Headlines? Darkness of a deeper
Kind has fallen on so many places,
War and hatred, hunger, death,
Yet, here, for now, a ray of light
Has warmed this messy little
Room. Not of the sun (recall
The rain) , the ray is yours.
You've made me happy.
Let me have your mug.
I'll get you coffee.
Do not go.

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As Seen on TV

Grace, I do not lack resolve. I'd be
On you in a minute if my little servant
Still would harken to his master's
Call. He, alas, remains asleep, and I,
Embarrassed, dawdle here with probing
Tongue and conversation, preludes
To the precious act we both had hoped
To undertake. I'll see a doctor soon,
I swear, and, surely, he will name
The nostrum which will give us what
We want: a servant roused, and
Stiffened with resolve.

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Gray

We lived well for a while, then didn't.
That's all. Our world grew shabby
And started to shrink. We moved back
To the city. We ate cheaper food,
And our bodies grew heavy, as if
We had weakened. Maybe we had.
Even now, having mostly grown used
To not having the things we once did,
We are quiet and slow, two old
People who wait for the bus you're
Awaiting. You hope its wheels turn
To take you ahead. That's not where
We want to go.

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Believe Your Eyes

Do not speak to me of rights. There are
No rights. You have to know. We speak
When we're allowed to speak, of things,
Of course, which are not wrong, and
Walk where we're allowed to walk, and
Gather, not in larger groups, and not
In anger, never that, and not to criticize
The gods, the ones who lead, or happy
Thoughts that bags of water, tethered
To the surface of a tiny globe in empty
Space could be, somehow, unlike the
Stones, possessed of certain rights.

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