18 April, 2013

{poetically plagiarized} 19: McHugh

I came upon this poem recently and absolutely love it - both in its messages and its cleverness. How wonderful to need nothing!!-- TGB  

       Language Lesson 1976

       When Americans say a man
       takes liberties, they mean

       he’s gone too far. In Philadelphia today I saw
       a kid on a leash look mom-ward

       and announce his fondest wish: one
       bicentennial burger, hold

       the relish. Hold is forget,
       in American.

       On the courts of Philadelphia
       the rich prepare

       to serve, to fault. The language is a game as well,
       in which love can mean nothing,

       doubletalk mean lie. I’m saying
       doubletalk with me. I’m saying

       go so far the customs are untold.
       Make nothing without words,

       and let me be
       the one you never hold.

By Heather McHugh   
Published in Hinge & Sign: Poems, 1968-1993   
Wesleyan University Press, 1994