Kef 21

By Henry Dumas 1934–1968 Henry Dumas
First there was the earth in my mouth. It was there like a running stream, the July fever sweating the delirium of August, and the green buckling under the sun. The taste of sick dust ran in the currents of saliva which I heaved up and tried to picture when all the people would curse their own stinking guts and die. No. I am not wishing that everyone should die. Nor am I wishing that everyone should be still. Only I am squeezing out the steam in me.

Henry Dumas, “Kef 21” from The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas, published by Thunder's Mouth Press. Copyright © 1968-2010 by Loretta Dumas and Eugene B. Redmond. Used by permission of the Hentry Dumas Estate, Eugene B. Redmond, Executor.

Source: The Selected Poetry of Henry Dumas (Thunder's Mouth Press, 1989)

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Poet Henry Dumas 1934–1968

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Nature, Summer, The Body

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

 Henry  Dumas

Biography

Fiction writer and poet Henry Dumas was born in Sweet Home, Arkansas, but moved to Harlem when he was 10. He attended City College in New York before joining the Air Force; he was stationed in San Antonio, Texas, and on the Arabian Peninsula. Dumas attended Rutgers University and worked for a year at IBM, then left the company to teach and direct language workshops at Southern Illinois University. He and his wife, Loretta . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Nature, Summer, The Body

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Prose Poem

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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