But I Didn't

But I Didn't

I wanted to tell you it was alright to look for the lost child,
The spirit is delicate, we must nourish it,
But I didn't.

I wanted to tell you I shouldn't have thrown grenades,
You were on patrol in our bedroom,
But I didn't.

I wanted to tell you we shouldn't play blackmail games,
Words go out and return to judge us,
But I didn't.

I should have run with you under the moon more often,
Gone to where the fish were biting,
But I didn't.

I wanted to say I understood why you came home drunk,
Staring at the kids as if they had taken something from you,
But I didn't.

I wanted to say I shouldn't have served you a bowl of jealousy.
Eating the sweet blood of berries with your best friend,
But I didn't.

I wanted to tell you I loved you,
When you came back from the war,
But you didn't.


from The Pest Exterminator's Shakespeare (Macarthur Institute Press, 1984), © Gary Langford 1984, used by permission of the author.

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1Introduction

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2The Women of our Family

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3The Men of Our City

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4This Morning

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5Reflections on the Beast

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6The Family Takes a Commercial Break

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7Pastoral

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8TV Stars Week

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9But I Didn't

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10Detention

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11From the Burns Unit

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1221 Pieces of Advice on the Path to Wisdom

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13Tom Paine 1946-

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14Plan of Strange City

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15I Say, You Say

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21Parable

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22Alike

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24Youth V Age

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27Make War Not Love

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28Baby Crying on an Autumn Morning

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29What to Do in a Planecrash

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30Being Old

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