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Ellyn Maybe: "People"

Poetry for Everyone

Ellyn Maybe was named by Writer’s Digest as one of ten poets to watch in the new millennium. Her work has been included in many anthologies, including Word Warriors: 35 Women Leaders in the Spoken Word Revolution, Poetry Slam, Another City: Writing From Los Angeles, Poetry Nation, The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry and American Poetry: The Next Generation.  She was on the 1998 and 1999 Venice Beach Slam teams.  She was seen reading her work in Michael Radford’s (Il Postino) film Dancing at the Blue Iguana.
This poem was originally published in Beyond The Valley of the Contemporary Poets Anthology (1999).
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PEOPLE

there are people
who hold an abridged tablet
of the ten commandments
in the space between their teeth and jaw.
there are people
who come into a room
with stardust on their breath
like a lullaby of backward halitosis.
there are people
who hold the planets together
by clicking their achilles heels three times.
there are people
who skywrite
without an airplane
without a net.
there are people
who twirl a room
like a rodeo for the sheepish.
there are people
who have bowling parties in their pajamas
while the rest of the world
seems like a pin
waiting for an angel to step out onto the dance floor.
there are people
who seem to have eyeball upon eyeball
like gumballs in an arcade of vision.
there are people
who walk into a room
a thermometer preceding them.
there are people
who wear their weather like perfume.
there are people
who know the cuckoo is the state bird
of most states of mind.
there are people
who went to the same high school
and spent each recess
in the lost and found room
uttering their phonetic name.
there are people
who will have conversations
deep as deathbed soliloquies
and never speak again.
there are people
who make whatever street they’re on
Telegraph Avenue 1964.
there are people
who write a shopping list
in hieroglyphics.
there are people
who look up at the sun
8000 times a day
and lack an eclipse.
there are people
who drag questions
from the tongue
like photos one second
before the crisp of a fire.
there are people
who ask nothing
and your heart sits like a blank check
in a bookstore that sells only elegy.
there are people
with a little past
behind their ears.
there are people
with a newscast on their eyebrows.
there are people
no matter how many apples they held
teachers resented them.
there are people
who ring many doorbells
but won’t let themselves in.
there are people
who light candles half the week
and swallow swords the rest.
there are people
who memorize the footprints
made by the snow.
there are people
who dine on shivers.
there are people
who chew on icicles
all year round.
there are people
who pray
with the nostalgia of baseball.
there are people
who laugh at life
openmouthed like a kiss.

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