Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, A LETTER TO A POLICEMAN IN KANSAS CITY, by KENNETH PATCHEN



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A LETTER TO A POLICEMAN IN KANSAS CITY, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: A lot of men and armies stand to take
Last Line: And any man can live on earth when we're through with it.
Subject(s): Police; Social Problems


A lot of men and armies stand to take
no chances with the prisoner Goddamn
them standing there near the bars watch their fingers
flex their eyes proud their legs firm their earth this
time next year last year a hundred years from now
they think it's all ours belongs to us we've got
you where we want for nothing

any painter
can't paint any carpenter can't build any
doctor can't cure any man can't say how deep
it goes inside to watch to stand dumb
in the streets of their cities and know
that your head's crummy your feet drip blood
that you belly rots your life is shot
your days
are spent in two-bit flops of them
because they get away with murder away
with everything we are or ever were come
to think of it

Goddamn them standing on
the cover of our world their heavy boots grinding
into our faces their ropes about our necks their guns
shut your mouth you bastard where do you live
what are you doing here look out
look out we don't know anything about that but
I'll tell you where we live and what we're doing here
tomorrow maybe I'll tell you then I'll tell you
when your guard is down when the thing breaks
I'll tell you all you want to know come to
think of it
I'm not too starved to want food
not too homeless to want a home not too dumb
to answer questions come to think of it
it'll take a hell
of a lot more than you've got to stop what's
going on deep inside us when it starts out
when it starts wheels going worlds growing
and any man can live on earth when we're through with it.




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