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"what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: Talia (
Date: July 10, 2004 11:39AM

Wanted to share this great poem with all of you.

Poem: "what she was wearing," by Denver Butson, from illegible address. Luquer Street Press.

what she was wearing

this is my suicide dress
she told him
I only wear it on days
when I'm afraid
I might kill myself
if I don't wear it

you've been wearing it
every day since we met
he said

and these are my arson gloves

so you don't set fire to something?
he asked


and this is my terrorism lipstick
my assault and battery eyeliner
my armed robbery boots

I'd like to undress you he said
but would that make me an accomplice?

and today she said I'm wearing
my infidelity underwear
so don't get any ideas

and she put on her nervous breakdown hat
and walked out the door

Re: "what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: lg (
Date: July 10, 2004 03:45PM

This gave me a Buster Keaton smile. Thanks for sharing it, Talia.

Re: "what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: StephenFryer (
Date: July 11, 2004 11:37AM

A bit like Billy Collins in style - I could get to be a fan:

Tuesday 9:00 AM

Denver Butson

A man standing at the bus stop
reading the newspaper is on fire
Flames are peeking out
from beneath his collar and cuffs
His shoes have begun to melt

The woman next to him
wants to mention it to him
that he is burning
but she is drowning
Water is everywhere
in her mouth and ears
in her eyes
A stream of water runs
steadily from her blouse

Another woman stands at the bus stop
freezing to death
She tries to stand near the man
who is on fire
to try to melt the icicles
that have formed on her eyelashes
and on her nostrils
to stop her teeth long enough
from chattering to say something
to the woman who is drowning
but the woman who is freezing to death
has trouble moving
with blocks of ice on her feet

It takes the three some time
to board the bus
what with the flames
and water and ice
But when they finally climb the stairs
and take their seats
the driver doesn't even notice
that none of them has paid
because he is tortured
by visions and is wondering
if the man who got off at the last stop
was really being mauled to death
by wild dogs.


Re: "what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: Talia (
Date: July 12, 2004 12:09PM

A bit like Collins, but a bit more bizarre.

Re: "what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: lg (
Date: July 12, 2004 12:49PM

Billy, is not quite so sardonic in his humor:

Another reason why I don't keep a gun in the house

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
He is barking the same high, rhythmic bark
that he barks every time they leave the house.
They must switch him on on their way out.

The neighbors' dog will not stop barking.
I close all the windows in the house
and put on a Beethoven symphony full blast
but I can still hear him muffled under the music,
barking, barking, barking,

and now I can see him sitting in the orchestra,
his head raised confidently as if Beethoven
had included a part for barking dog.

When the record finally ends he is still barking,
sitting there in the oboe section barking,
his eyes fixed on the conductor who is
entreating him with his baton

while the other musicians listen in respectful
silence to the famous barking dog solo,
that endless coda that first established
Beethoven as an innovative genius.

--Billy Collins

Re: "what she was wearing" by Denver Butson
Posted by: peternsz (
Date: July 18, 2004 03:01AM

The same ironic, mocking tone shows up in Ishmael Reed's

Beware: Do Not Read This Poem

tonite, thriller was
abt an ol woman, so vain she
surrounded her self w/
many mirrors
It got so bad that finally she
locked herself indoors & her
whole life became the
one day the villagers broke
into her house, but she was too
swift for them, she disappeared
into a mirror

each tenant who bought the house
after that, lost a loved one to
the ol woman in the mirror:
first a little girl
then a young woman
then the young woman/s husband

the hunger of this poem is legendary
it has taken in many victims
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr feet
back off from this poem
it has drawn in yr legs
back off from this poem
it is a greedy mirror
you are into this poem, from
the waist down
nobody can hear you can they?

this poem has had you up to here
this poem aint got no manners
you cant call out frm this poem
relax now & go w/ this poem
move & roll on to this poem

do not resist this poem
this poem has yr eyes
this poem has his head
this poem has his arms
this poem has his fingers
this poem has his fingertips

this poem is the reader & the
reader this poem

statistic: the us bureau of missing persons reports
that in 1968 over 100,000 people disappeared
leaving no solid clues
nor trace only
a space in the lives of their friends

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