Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, THE TROUBLE WITH THE TIMES, by THOMAS MCGRATH



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THE TROUBLE WITH THE TIMES, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: In this town the shops are all the same
Last Line: Given away
Subject(s): Animals; Antelopes; Rosary


In this town the shops are all the same:
Bread, bullets, the usual flowers
Are sold but no one -- no one, no one
Has a shop for angels,
No one sells orchid bread, no one
A silver bullet to kill a king.

No one in this town has heard
Of fox-fire rosaries -- instead
They have catechisms of filthy shirts,
And their god goes by on crutches
In the stench of exhaust fumes and dirty stories.

No one is opening -- even on credit --
A shop for the replacement of lost years.
No one sells treasure maps. No one
Retails a poem at so much per love.

No. It is necessary
To go down to the river where the bums at evening
Assemble their histories like cancelled stamps.
There you may find, perhaps, the purple
Weather, for nothing; the blue
Apples, free; the reddest
Antelope, coming down to drink at the river,
Given away.


Used with the permission of Copper Canyon Press, P.O. Box 271, Port Townsend, WA
98368-0271, www.cc.press.org




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