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A Fable

a fresh new poem by Richard Hoffman


A Fable

Richard Hoffman


Buncha monkeys
try to get along:
who gets what's
one question, hard,
with lotsa itchy
dicks & estrus,
nits to pick & 
coconuts, bananas
finite, unripe, &
low down pythons,
crocs, & big cats
play gotcha (&
eatcha!) so on up
the treetrunks
monkeys screech,
each monkey for
itself, until each
who reaches the
canopy says we
who are here are
treetop monkeys
not like you who
have to try to
not be food &
down below us
work out ways
to dodge our poo.
Then one day one
young one among
the dodgers got
a new word in his
head: instead,
a word a monkey
punk could spread
along the ground
and lower branches.
Sweeter than coco,
the milk from that
crack made trees
inside the monkeys,
trees that grew so
fast they scratched
and shook their
itchy heads; they
tapped their pates,
and made a new sign:

one by one, one
monkey at a time,
they banded, bonded,
began to climb.





RH photo.jpg

Richard Hoffman is the author of three poetry collections: Without Paradise, Gold Star Road, winner of the 2006 Barrow Street Press Poetry Prize and the New England Poetry Club's Sheila Motton Book Award, and his latest, Emblem. His prose works include the celebrated Half the House: a Memoir, Interference & Other Stories, and his new memoir, Love & Fury. Past Chair of PEN New England, he is Senior Writer-in-Residence at Emerson College.