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This poem is taken from PN Review 204, Volume 38 Number 4, March - April 2012.

Three Poems Elaine Feinstein
Emanuel
i.m. Emanuel Litvinoff (1915-2011)

With your sardonic, Sam Spade elegance,
your pale clothes, always clean and pressed,
and that lean body women knew at once
would give them pleasure, still, those bitter
lines from nose to mouth suggest,
you felt a sense of failure,

a childhood misery always ready to pounce,
from the doorways you slept in, long ago
on the streets. Writing saved you once,
and books in the Whitechapel library:
A poet, like the Messiah, carries no cash.
You were precociously aware of poetry;

your soldier-lyrics first, then, after the War
finding the Cosmo, and Canetti,
...


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