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By George Starbuck

for Arthur Freeman

Pigfoot (with Aces Under) Passes

The heat’s on the hooker.   
Drop’s on the lam.
Cops got Booker.
Who give a damn?

The Kid’s been had   
But not me yet.
Dad’s in his pad.   
No sweat.

Margaret Are You Drug

Cool it Mag.
Sure it’s a drag
With all that green flaked out.
Next thing you know they’ll be changing the color of bread.

But look, Chick,   
Why panic?
Sevennyeighty years, we’ll all be dead.

Roll with it, Kid.   
I did.
Give it the old benefit of the doubt.

I mean leaves   
You sure you aint just feeling sorry for yourself?


Lamb, what makes you tick?
You got a wind-up, a Battery-Powered,   
A flywheel, a plug-in, or what?
You made out of real Reelfur?
You fall out the window you bust?   
You shrink? Turn into a No-No?
Zip open and have pups?

I bet you better than that.
I bet you put out by some other outfit.
I bet you don’t do nothin.   
I bet you somethin to eat.

Daddy Gander’s New Found Runes

Rain, rain, grow the hay.
Grow the weeds another day.   
If I die before I wake,
Skip it.

Little Boy Blue come blow.
   Can’t Man; learning a new instrument.
What’s with the old one? Where’d you get the new one?   
   Found it in a haystack Man.

Old Mother Hubbard,   
Decently covered,
Went to her final reward.

She had to laugh.   
Manger was half   
Empty and half kennel.

Ol’ Shep. At it   
Again. Livin’ on   

I fired a missile up.
It came down maybe.
Maybe it stayed up.
Things aint much like they used to be.

George Starbuck, “Translations from the English” from The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades. Copyright © 2003 by University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa). Reprinted with the permission of The University of Alabama Press.

Source: The Works: Poems Selected from Five Decades (2003)

  • Arts & Sciences

Poet Bio

George Starbuck
George Starbuck was born in Columbus, Ohio. He attended the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, the University of Chicago, and Harvard University. Starbuck spent two years as a corporal in the Military Police Corps before working at various universities. Starbuck was also a contributor to numerous periodicals including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and Poetry magazine. He died in 1996 after a twenty-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. See More By This Poet

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