Posts Tagged ‘poor’

Somehow I started getting a subscription to Harper’s Magazine. Not that I mind, it was just so out of the blue. As usual, I start from the back of any magazine and read toward the front. I don’t remember when I started doing that, but maybe it’s because many magazines have a “back page” that is usually some sort of high note to leave the steady reader with. Not quite the magazine equivalent of a happy ending, but not far off either.

This month the back page consisted of a collection of findings from various scientific studies, some credited, some merely random statements. “The nose smells what it expects” stood out, as did some statements that kept referring simply to “the poor.” I thought there might be a found poem in all of this, a cross-out poem. I circled, I crossed out, doubled back and looked for new connections. Where I might have been able to manipulate what was on the page into something with more political weight or social commentary I am, at heart, a purist when it comes to cross-out poems – I believe the words should be used in the order they appeared on the page.

And so here it is, the great query in the differences between The People and Science.

how great?

reduce their carbon footprints, and
wear appropriate shoes.

easily embarrassed,
the fatalistic are less likely to
spread selfishness through human history.
times of crisis the poor suffer
rumor-mongering, collegial sabotage,
and employ the past tense

ambiguous janitors are more likely to be seen
the nose smells what it smells

psychologists suggest that the poor
are overrated; the
broken will give their lives
when upset

avoid inbreeding
and the
existence of rainbows

Robyn is handling the hosting duties of Poetry Friday this week over at Read, Write, Howl. That totally sounds like a manual for daily life. Go, read a little, write a little, howl a lot!


I don’t know why it didn’t occur to me sooner, but I realized that perhaps people might want to see the original page I worked over to achieve the stunning masterpiece above. Consider this a “show your work” or a source attribution if you will. I’m pretty sure if you click on the image it will grow to a more legible size.

In all it's green Sharpie glory

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