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(12 February 1923 - 3 September 2003 / New York City, New York)

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Internal Migration: On Being On Tour

As an American traveler I have
to remember not to get actionably mad
about the way things are around here.
Tomorrow I’ll be a thousand miles away
from the way it is around here. I will
keep my temper, I will not kill the dog
next door, nor will I kill the next-door wife,
both of whom are crazy and aggressive
and think they live at the center of culture
like everyone else in this college town.
This is because I’m leaving, I’m taking off
by car, by light plane, by jet, by taxicab,
for some place else a thousand miles away,
so I caution myself: control your rage,
even if it causes a slight heart attack.
Stay out of jail tonight before you leave,
and don’t get obstreperous in transit tomorrow
so as to stay out of jail on arrival tomorrow night.
Think: the new handcuffs are sharp inside
and meant to cut the wrists. You’re not too old
to be raped in their filthy overcrowded jails
and you’ll lose your glasses and false teeth.
How would you eat, study and be
a traveling lecturer if you got out alive and sane?
So remember to leave this place peacefully,
it’s only Asshole State University at Nowheresville,
and remember to get to the next place peacefully,
it’s only Nowhere State University at Assholesville
and you must travel from place to place for food and shelter.

Submitted: Friday, April 16, 2010


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