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October 20th, 2014 - we have 234 poets, 8,025 poems and 279,055 comments.
James Tate - Shut Up And Eat Your Toad

The disorganization to which I currently belong
has skipped several meetings in a row
which is a pattern I find almost fatally attractive.
Down at headquarters there's a secretary
and a janitor who I shall call Suzie
and boy can she ever shoot straight.
She'll shoot you straight in the eye if you ask her to.
I mow the grass every other Saturday
and that's the day she polishes the trivets
whether they need it or not, I don't know
if there is a name for this kind of behavior,
hers or mine, but somebody once said something or another.
That's why I joined up in the first place,
so somebody could teach me a few useful phrases,
such as, "Good afternoon, my dear anal-retentive Doctor,"
and "My, that is a lovely dictionary you have on, Mrs. Smith." 
Still, I hardly feel like functioning even on a brute
or loutish level. My plants think I'm one of them,
and they don't look so good themselves, or so
I tell them. I like to give them at least several
reasons to be annoyed with me, it's how they exercise
their skinny spectrum of emotions. Because.
That and cribbage. Often when I return from the club
late at night, weary-laden, weary-winged, washed out,
I can actually hear the nematodes working, sucking
the juices from the living cells of my narcissus.
I have mentioned this to Suzie on several occasions.
Each time she has backed away from me, panic-stricken
when really I was just making a stab at conversation.
It is not my intention to alarm anyone, but dear Lord
if I find a dead man in the road and his eyes
are crawling with maggots, I refuse to say
have a nice day Suzie just because she's desperate
and her life is a runaway carriage rushing toward a cliff
now can I? Would you let her get away with that kind of crap?
Who are you anyway? And what kind of disorganization is this?
Baron of the Holy Grail? Well it's about time you got here.
I was worried, I was starting to fret.

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Added: Feb 20 2003 | Viewed: 12099 times | Comments and analysis of Shut Up And Eat Your Toad by James Tate Comments (4)

Shut Up And Eat Your Toad - Comments and Information

Poet: James Tate
Poem: Shut Up And Eat Your Toad

Comment 4 of 4, added on July 18th, 2014 at 1:14 PM.
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dipD4I Im obliged for the article.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

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Comment 3 of 4, added on February 14th, 2010 at 12:00 AM.
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Comment 2 of 4, added on April 21st, 2006 at 5:28 PM.

I was looking up referenced letter poems and their authors, when I stumbled upon "Shut up and eat your toad". Up until reading this, the suggested letter poems were about death. This, I say with a twinkle in my eye, manages to slip death in the very end, but what a funny story along the way! I am a new at being a poet. I am an artist. I like the letter poem; I don't know why. Would love to hear comments on it from experienced poets!

Barbara Gardner from United States

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