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Poetry by Lyn Lifshin 

Lyn is an accomplished poet, responsible for over 100 books.  Winner of the Jack Kerouac Award, among others, she's been Poet In Residence at a few colleges, taught writing courses, and has been editor for four women writers anthologies.  Visit her site.



© 2008 Lyn Lifshin







her appetite and hope

after six years on the

move in Columbia's

jungles. Here we are

living like the dead

the rebel captive

wrote her mother.

I no longer have

the same strength,

it is very difficult to

continue believing.

I am not well physically,

my appetite is frozen,

my hair is falling out.

A short video tape

shows grainy images of

an extremely gaunt

woman staring at the

ground, rosary in

hand, an out spoken

former law maker once

determined to tackle

Columbia's rampant

corruption. She said it

was too risky to

send proof they are

a live, too risky to

the ones delivering it.

I stretch to relieve

my sore neck she wrote.

It is a problem to be

the only woman among

several male prisoners,

some who have been held

for years. Life is not

life here but a gloomy

waste of time." She

said they subsist on a

hammock stretched

between two stakes and

a tarp which acts like

a roof and allows

the prisoners to think they

have a house. I live like

an animal. At any moment

they give orders to pack up

and I wait  in all kinds of

holes like an animal.







carried to school

by his mother on her back.

No shoes. Cold Baskirig

wind. Called a beggar

by children, one day

he fainted from hunger


52 years later, a

single pair of

Rudolf Nuereyv's

ballet shoes sold

for more than $9,000







his poetry of the feet,

"Everything I have," he

said, " the legs have

danced for." From

starving, eating potato

peelings in Ufa in

Russia, he left an

estate worth twenty one

million. His power

ful body, dark soul

astonishing across

the stages, the modern

altars of the world







poems so erotic and tense,

not just nights with a stranger

poems but long married

love, no lust poems and felt,

just felt somehow you weren't

quite with it? Fell short?

Come on admit it, have you

ever felt as turned off as walking

thru a sex  shop to find fur

crotches, crotch-less pants,

more uncomfortable than sexy,

dirty as carrots jerked out of

earth where they'd been in

darkness, earth still clinging.

Haven't you, be honest, felt

what was forbidden turned you

on more, the press of a thigh

in a smoky café, Austin, some

one you'd never stand near

brushing your teeth and flossing?

Haven't you ever felt the act was

as little different than being one

of the girls in a whorehouse?
Putting on a show when you

want to sleep and dream of some

one faceless doing what seemed

too clear for magic?







Willie  Shoemaker at

Atlantic City


I just wanted to strut

on the boards,


slip thru crowds, new

hips in a turquoise and


sea mist dress, a

sarong sailors'


eyes licked. I didn't

care if Eddie Arcaro


was clutching a

mane. I knew



The pound of


hooves not yet music





All work is property of Lyn Lifshin.




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