Kingsville, 1951

ed rosenthal
February 11, 2015

This is the first in a series of explicitly autobiographical poems I intend to post:

pocket knife

“Do you have a knife, boy?
I watched his fingers as they
Tapped the arm of his chair.
“Every boy needs a knife."

I wanted one, all right,
One like his,
Small and sharp and bright with the sun
I wanted the power.

“A knife like this.”
He reached behind my ear like a conjurer,
And two inches of tempered steel
Became mine.

I could whittle.
“Soft wood’s best.”
I could carve the end of my pencil,
And call it sharpening.
I could cut twine,
And slice open bags.
I could make it stand straight up in the ground,

“Don’t give that boy a knife, John,"
My grandmother said,
“He’ll cut himself.”

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"for 'twere absurd to think that nature in the earth bred gold, perfect in the instant;
there must be remote matter." - Ben Jonson
"I don't know what the question is, but art is the answer." - Guy Conner

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