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Richard Kenney, a stunningly original American poet, applies his sense of humor and quicksilver tongue to subjects both dark and light. Today's poem catches him in the act of social observation which makes his work a playful and telling mirror for our moment.


While not a Wiccan coven, quite, the local
Food Co-op's a colloquy
Of gray braids above those wool felt clogs

One wise woman over there—no nubbly
Linsey-woolsey leggings, no loose Andean
Knitwear on that one—stylish, undeniably

Above this war of worlds—calls don't-fuck-me shoes.
Here at the Sinclair station, other issues
Rule. Recumbent with dunces, as usual, we're a who's

Whom of never, ever gracious to a fault,
Phallocentric, smoky, sulky with Miss Oil Filter,
September '85, abulge with those brick-sized billfold-

And-belt-chain gentlemen's accessories
One always sees in philadelphias of this sorry
Sort. Anyway, across comes a girl in Minoan axes

Asking Do any of you comedians want a Quinoa
Or Spelt Flake Smart Drink? No one
Blinks. Got kamut? offers Phil. The sine qua non:

Contact. Civilization begins anew.



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About Richard Kenney

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Excerpt from THE ONE-STRAND RIVER. Copyright © 2008 by Richard Kenney. Excerpted by permission of Alfred A. Knopf, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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