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Poet Tony Hoagland Dead at 64

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Tony Hoagland is a great, wonderful writer who moved simply but expertly and efficiently through language. Here is one of my favorite poems by him: Fred Had Watched A Lot Of Kung Fu Episodes


so when the policeman asked

to see his driver's license, he said,

Does the wind need permission


from the hedgehog to blow?

which resulted in a search of the car,

which miraculously yielded nothing


since Fred had swallowed all the mescaline already

and was just beginning to fall in love

with the bushy caterpillar eyebrows

of the officer in question.


In those days we could identify

the fingerprints on a guitar string

by the third note of the song

broadcast from the window of a passing car,


but we couldn't tell the difference

between a personal disaster

and "having an experience,"


so Fred thought being locked up for the night

was kind of fun,

with the graffiti on the drunk-tank wall

chattering in Mandarin

and the sentient cockroaches coming out to visit

in triplicate.


Back then it wasn't a question of pleasure or pain,

It wasn't a question of getting to the top

then trying not to fall at any cost.


It was a question of staying tuned in,

one episode at a time,

said Fred to himself

as he walked home the next morning

under the spreading lotus trees on Walnut Street,

feeling Oriental.




Thanks for everything Tony

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On 10/27/2018 at 8:07 AM, KH868 said:

If he didn't have poems about marginalizing minorities or eating ass was he truly alive. 


This one was a hot debate for a good minute when it arrived on the scene in 2003

Still considered a gleaming example of his racism by many

Edited by Bouvre

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