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Thank You

Aug. 30, 2009
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My body temperature was below normal; it was like 97.5—
It was like I was turning into a radio station,
Which was fine, because my radio had stopped working—
The batteries had died, beautifully, with dignity, in their sleep.

The morning paper seemed beyond me, but it was below me.
A piece of gunk fell out of my eye
And landed on an Associated Press photograph.
Russian business leaders with faces like water balloons—
Then a story about children hiding in a leaf pile who were hit by a van.

Then the photograph of the demonstrator outside the Federal building—
It was impossible to tell if he was shouting or yawning.

Thank you, Walt Whitman, for doing whatever it was you did
So that we don’t have to write like they did before you came along.   

Matt Cook is the author of three books of poetry, all published by Manic D Press.  His poems have been read by Garrison Keillor on NPR's Writers Almanac, and his work has been anthologized in Aloud: Voices from the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, Spoken Word Revolution Redux, and The United States of Poetry.  He divides his time between Milwaukee and Memphis, Tennessee.


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