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The AP Mantra

Inkblots stain raw hands
Moving too fast
Screaming across paper
Spurting and frantic

Spines bending forward and sticking
Seventeen year-olds, hunchbacks
Deformed from close reading
Old folks already

Eyes burn under halogen lamps
To the right breathing fire
Upon the sides of faces and necks

Standing, rubbing, stretching,
Rising, eyes closing
A voice swims slowly to tired ears
A message heard before
Work, work on, work

A silver hook
Sinks in the tired spine
Pulling the hunchback ragdoll,
The old one too young
Forward to sit again
Too stain worn hands with new marks



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