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  4. Sorcery by Jessica Hagedorn

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there are some people i know
whose beauty
is a crime.
who make you so crazy
you don't know
whether to throw yourself
at them
or kill them.
which makes
for permanent madness.
which could be
bad for you.
you better be on the lookout
for such circumstances.

stay away
from the night.
they most likely lurk
in corners of the room
where they think
they being inconspicuous
but they so beautiful
an aura
gives them away.

stay away
from the day.
they most likely
be walking
down the street
when you least
expect it
trying to look
but they so fine
they break your heart
by making you dream
of other possibilities.

stay away
from crazy music.
they most likely
be creating it.
cuz when you're that beautiful
you can't help
putting it out there.
everyone knows
how dangerous
that can get.

stay away
from magic shows.
especially those
involving words.
words are very
tricky things.
everyone knows
the most common
instruments of

they most likely
be saying them,
breathing poems
so rhythmic
you can't help
but dance.
and once
you start dancing
to words
you might never

Jessica Hagedorn, "Sorcery" from Danger and Beauty. Copyright © 1993 by Jessica Hagedorn.  Reprinted by permission of Harold Schmidt Literary Agency.
Source: Danger and Beauty (Penguin Books, 1993)
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  • Poet, novelist, playwright, and multimedia artist Jessica Hagedorn was raised and lived in the Philippines until she moved to San Francisco in her teens. She is the author of five books, including the novel Dogeaters (1990), finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation. Hagedorn is also the editor of three Asian American literature anthologies: Manila Noir (2013), Charlie Chan Is Dead: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction (1993), and Charlie Chan Is Dead 2: At Home in the World (An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Fiction) (2004). She is the recipient of a Lucille Lortel Playwrights Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fiction Fellowship, and an NEA-TCG Playwriting Residency Fellowship, as well as fellowships from the Sundance Theatre Lab and the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. Currently, Hagedorn is the Parsons Family University Professor of Creative Writing and director of the MFA Writing Program...

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