[Kills bugs dead.]

By Harryette Mullen b. 1953 Harryette Mullen
Kills bugs dead. Redundancy is syntactical overkill. A pin-prick of peace at the end of the tunnel of a nightmare night in a roach motel. Their noise infects the dream. In black kitchens they foul the food, walk on our bodies as we sleep over oceans of pirate flags. Skull and crossbones, they crunch like candy. When we die they will eat us, unless we kill them first. Invest in better mousetraps. Take no prisoners on board ship, to rock the boat, to violate our beds with pestilence. We dream the dream of extirpation. Wipe out a species, with God at our side. Annihilate the insects. Sterilize the filthy vermin.

“[Kills bugs dead.]” by Harryette Mullen from Recyclopedia. Copyright © 2006 by Harryette Mullen. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press.

Source: Recyclopedia (Graywolf Press, 2006)

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Poet Harryette Mullen b. 1953

Subjects Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

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 Harryette  Mullen

Biography

Harryette Mullen is a poet and a professor of English at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she teaches creative writing and African-American literature. Her poetry has been hailed by critics as unique, powerful, and challenging. Elisabeth A. Frost wrote in Contemporary Literature: "Crossing the lines between often isolated aesthetic camps, Harryette Mullen has pioneered her own form of bluesy, disjunctive lyric . . .

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SUBJECT Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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