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gary soto – reading biographies lyrics

perhaps frost was poking his secretary
the apple core of his good-living chewed
to the bitter seed. perhaps he b-ttoned up
disgusted with the dead lizard cupped in his palm
and his woman? she was as large as gilbraltar
a chunk of cheese in each armpit
she took a deep breath
and wiggled the goose of her tasty f-nny
into the kitchen. there, she poured pancakes
onto a skillet as old as this country
and frost, a pioneer for all writers
picked up his beaver-thrashed pencil and proclaimed
o sweet youth, etc

i don’t know how to read
biographies, the dead words of dead writers
etched on my eyes, then gone. i read them
and drive my car recklessly through leaves
the cushion for my own eventual death
sure, i reflect, like a chip of mirror
and then i forget them, these subjects
these writers with lungs and straight-a penmanship
they’re of no use. i’m not saved
by the repet-tions of jealousy and all-day drinking
wind frisked the trees, hair fell like wheat
and the liver, saddlebag of disease
bulged with inoperable knots

i touch my own hip, then hobble home
where a pumpkin glows in a window
birds shrug into their coats of dirt
crickets stop the violin action of their thighs
a fire is built, and i’m lit in the living room
i’m a democrat, i slur to the couch
and add, venus is a star and fly trap
thank god, i’ve learned nothing

- gary soto lyrics

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