Archie Randolph Ammons

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

Greeting Verses - Poem by Archie Randolph Ammons

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.

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Poem Submitted: Monday, February 24, 2014

Poem Edited: Monday, February 24, 2014

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