Archie Randolph Ammons

(18 February 1926 – 25 February 2001 / Whiteville, North Carolina)

Greeting Verses


What do I find right at the center of my interpersonal
relationships: a slightly dispersed but indisputably
tinctured core of brutality: go to the hospital


the question is not whether your life is at stake
but whether you can pay the bill, guaranteeing it on
admission (or no admission) and proving it (or not getting


out) on release (if any): this bit of realism
clutches our floating values underneath like a bracket
under a bouquet: if someone pauses to


congratulate me on some slight nothing, I see the
quiver of a curse undermine his lip: he
tries to make a better world even while it crumbles in


on him and us (a brutality): when I give my body to another
(or take another's) I sometimes fear more
body being taken than was offered, an overextension


of contract: hearts and flowers, scented sentiment, garden
varieties greet us, how lost we want to be in fictions and
fabrications: a worm cores this world's doings, look out.

Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014
Edited: Monday, February 24, 2014

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