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Song of the Species

by James Arthur


How many have I sent to Hell?
I can’t keep track of names.

. . . Anyone you know
with a waterfront view. All your accusers,
all whom they accuse. The many
who ache to be the few.  

The morons on the city bus,
their friends and kids and dogs.
Drum-bangers, gang-bangers,
self-hangers, and pigs.
Those who make the love
or love the peace, or make the killing …
I include myself as well,
and the bell that tolls for me.

Thank you for your love;
you get my pity in return.
I wrote this on a Tuesday
while I was sitting in the park.

 

James Arthur’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Iowa Review, and The Southern Review. He has received a Discovery/The Nation Prize, the Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship, a Stegner Fellowship, and fellowships to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Oakland with his wife, fiction writer Shannon Robinson. (4/2009)


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