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We Didn't Come Here for This: A Memoir in Poetry

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We Didn't Come Here for This: A Memoir in Poetry

By: William Patrick

Availability: In Stock

Regular price $ 13.95

About This Title

"Jim and Betty were married in 1946. He had just returned from the harrowing experiences of the war; she was a modest, inexperienced Catholic girl. Their first son, Jimmy, was born in 1949. Three other children followed: Tommy in 1951, David in 1954, and Steven in 1958. Tommy died as an infant, and David was afflicted with cerebral palsy... "We Didn't Come Here for This is poetry of course it is; but it is poetry on its own terms, a kind of utterance that does not borrow from books the sometimes stilted magnificence of traditional literature or the sometimes exhibitionist quirkiness of contemporary writing." [From the Introduction by Fred Chappell]  


Christmas, 1950

My father's mouth is
under the white beard with strings
that I can pull down.

My face, laughing, looks
up from one shiny snowboot
and then the other.

Don't touch Jimmy's dog.
Don't. Or his new firehouse. No,
don't, or he'll hit you.

I see light, like stars,
like music sparking, bouncing
off the bright, new snow.

If the baby duck
walks fast on my new barn roof,
his mother will yell.

The red birds land on
snowy branches. My red cup
of milk hits the floor.

My Christmas tree smells.
The tinsel tastes like doorknobs.
The needles bite you.

The brown bird outside
see his friends clipped to the tree,
and wants to come in.

The gray Fairbanks truck
brings the wind to Hoosick Street,
turning the spruce blue.

My father wears red
pants, red coat, a red hat, and
stands by our fireplace.

I push my rocking
chair next to my brother's chair,
but sometimes he moves.

Some of the white clouds
carry angels who can see
from God down to me.

The empty branches
of the crab-apple tree don't
catch the broken clouds.

I can't wear Jimmy's
hat. Babies can't be cowboys
until they turn three.

My father's wires
hold the tree tight in water
so it doesn't die.

When my father plays
a record, my mother laughs.
I see all her teeth.

The red ornament
makes me big, but curves the couch
tall around my head.

Jimmy puts my cows
inside his long, silver truck
and takes them away.

My grandmother's hands
want the cookies to be trees,
and stars, and houses.

Lay this green blanket
over my barn, fence, pigs, horse,
cows, sheep. Keep them warm.

The way snow floats down,
thinking of where it came from,
telling me to sleep.

BOA Editions author page for William Patrick

Paperback ISBN: 1-880238-71-3

Price: $13.95

Publishing Date: March 1999