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Hôtel de Ville

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The kids should visit a history museum
in their senior year, to understand disgrace as
one form of Clinton’s victory. On the other hand
the European Community foreign debt gives
everybody bad dreams. So we do need to solve
the problem of students reading difficult things
that will lead them astray: why did Rimbaud
turn from socialism to capitalism? As if

it matters. He is his own consolation prize.
We’d be delighted to have his uniform.
We want to see all the modern art stuff, too.
Thank you. Press the button marked “monument”
and see what happens: a recorded voice says
“I have wasted my life,” and we pay to listen.


Source: Poetry (December 2010)

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This poem originally appeared in the December 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

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Hôtel de Ville

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