Discrimination

By Kenneth Rexroth 1905–1982 Kenneth Rexroth
I don’t mind the human race.   
I’ve got pretty used to them   
In these past twenty-five years.   
I don’t mind if they sit next   
To me on streetcars, or eat   
In the same restaurants, if   
It’s not at the same table.   
However, I don’t approve   
Of a woman I respect
Dancing with one of them. I’ve   
Tried asking them to my home   
Without success. I shouldn’t   
Care to see my own sister   
Marry one. Even if she
Loved him, think of the children.   
Their art is interesting,   
But certainly barbarous.   
I’m sure, if given a chance,   
They’d kill us all in our beds.   
And you must admit, they smell.

Kenneth Rexroth, “Discrimination” from The Collected Shorter Poems. Copyright © 1966 by Kenneth Rexroth. Reprinted with the permission of New Directions Publishing Corporation, www.wwnorton.com/nd/welcome.htm.

Source: The Collected Shorter Poems (1966)

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Poet Kenneth Rexroth 1905–1982

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Subjects Humor & Satire, Race & Ethnicity, Social Commentaries, Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms Syllabic

 Kenneth  Rexroth

Biography

Kenneth Rexroth was born in South Bend, Indiana and frequently moved around the Midwest during his childhood. He led a tumultuous life that included being orphaned at 14, constant traveling both in the US and abroad, intense political activism, and four marriages. Largely self-educated, he is one of the most well-read poets of the twentieth century. His poems, which influenced Beat writers such as Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Humor & Satire, Race & Ethnicity, Social Commentaries, Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION U.S., Western

SCHOOL / PERIOD Beat

Poetic Terms Syllabic

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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