Does not the world—that fat lout—
stomp on their corns, hard?
Do they not starve for sweets
that, eaten, stab their cavities?

Let them aouga as you make
a legal left. Let them howl
as you drop the last on-sale
angelfood cake into your cart

just as they run up, slobbering.
Don’t resent their scowls
when you ask, all courtesy, to use
the lat machine they lounge around,

grousing with other curdled
hearts they think are friends.
Why shout back when, in the library,
they denounce a printer

that, for all others, works fine?
Didn’t their hopes take
a crippling fall? Aren’t they dropsical
with lack of love, guts bursting

with the winds of “Why not me?”
Never think—even if they seem
to prosper—they don’t writhe in psychic
hovels, begging-cups replete

with holes. Never think their limbs
don’t shake, muscles crow-barred
off their bones by useless efforts
to pump up their punctured pride.

Decline to provide the whack-
across-the-face Justice declares
their due. Be sure—as you despise
their jowls, and the cankered

holes from which they spray /
spout / spew—that even
on your worst day, they don’t resemble

Charles Harper Webb

Charles Harper Webb

CHARLES HARPER WEBB's latest book, Brain Camp, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015. A Million MFAs Are Not Enough, a book of essays on contemporary American poetry, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recipient of grants from the Whiting and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach.
Charles Harper Webb

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