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FURTHER READING
Poems Teens Like
Howl, Parts I & II
by Allen Ginsberg
A Muse
by Reginald Shepherd
Alice at Seventeen: Like a Blind Child
by Darcy Cummings
Ave Maria
by Frank O'Hara
Ballad
by Sonia Sanchez
Because it looked hotter that way
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Charlotte Brontë in Leeds Point
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Cicada
by John Blair
Coach Losing His Daughter
by Jack Ridl
Dangerous for Girls
by Connie Voisine
Deer Hit
by Jon Loomis
Falling
by James Dickey
Flowers of Rad
by Sampson Starkweather
Ground Swell
by Mark Jarman
homage to my hips
by Lucille Clifton
In Knowledge of Young Boys
by Toi Derricotte
Lady Tactics
by Anne Waldman
Mairsy and Dosey
by Sharon Olds
Making a Fist
by Naomi Shihab Nye
Mermaid Song
by Kim Addonizio
Notes from the Other Side
by Jane Kenyon
Patience
by Kay Ryan
Possum Crossing
by Nikki Giovanni
Thanks
by W. S. Merwin
That Sure is My Little Dog
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The Changing Light
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The Fist
by Derek Walcott
The New Higher
by John Ashbery
The Pomegranate
by Eavan Boland
The Wild Iris
by Louise Glück
The Young Man's Song
by W. B. Yeats
White Apples
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Workshop
by Billy Collins
Related Prose
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Sticks

 
by Thomas Sayers Ellis

My father was an enormous man
Who believed kindness and lack of size
Were nothing more than sissified
Signs of weakness. Narrow-minded,

His eyes were the worst kind
Of jury — deliberate, distant, hard.
No one could out-shout him
Or make bigger fists. The few

Who tried got taken for bad,
Beat down, their bodies slammed.
I wanted to be just like him:
Big man, man of the house, king.

A plagiarist, hitting the things he hit,
I learned to use my hands watching him
Use his, pretending to slap mother
When he slapped mother.	 

He was sick. A diabetic slept 
Like a silent vowel inside his well-built,
Muscular, dark body. Hard as all that
With similar weaknesses

— I discovered writing,
How words are parts of speech
With beats and breaths of their own.
Interjections like flams. Wham! Bam!

An heir to the rhythm
And tension beneath the beatings,
My first attempts were filled with noise, 
Wild solos, violent uncontrollable blows.

The page tightened like a drum
Resisting the clockwise twisting
Of a handheld chrome key,
The noisy banging and tuning of growth.






Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Sayers Ellis. From Maverick Room. Used with permission of Graywolf Press.
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