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Help Wanted: One Strangler

by John McKernan


for Kenneth Koch


The poets are dying of words
They slouch against dictionaries
Or sit stupefied on broken glass
In front of huge concordances
Skyscrapers gleam in the background

One or two young ones keel over
He mutters “prophylactic hummingbird”
She mutters “mare piscina nunc”
Mice are scampering in the walls
A transport plan circles the blue

Should we not get some strychnine
Arsenic, a gun, some knives

IBM cards fall from the heavens


John McKernan is editor of The Little Review. (Fall 1974)

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