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For Freckle-Faced Gerald

Etheridge Knight

Now you take ol Rufus. He beat drums,
was free and funky under the arms,
fucked white girls, jumped off a bridge
(and thought nothing of the sacrilege),
he copped out—and he was over twenty-one.

Take Gerald. Sixteen years hadn’t even done
a good job on his voice. He didn’t even know
how to talk tough, or how to hide the glow
of life before he was thrown in as “pigmeat”
for the buzzards to eat.

Gerald, who had no memory or hope of copper hot lips—
or firm upthrusting thighs
to reinforce his flow,
let tall walls and buzzards change the course
of his river from south to north.

(No safety in numbers, like back on the block:
two’s aplenty. three? definitely not.
four? “you’re all muslims.”
five? “you were planning a race riot.”
plus, Gerald could never quite win
with his precise speech and innocent grin
the trust and fists of the young black cats.)

Gerald, sun-kissed ten thousand times on the nose
and cheeks, didn’t stand a chance,
didn’t even know that the loss of his balls
had been plotted years in advance
by wiser and bigger buzzards than those
who now hover above his track
and at night light upon his back.

To Find God

Robert Herrick

Weigh me the fire; or canst thou find
A way to measure out the wind?
Distinguish all those floods that are
Mixed in that wat’ry theater,
And taste thou them as saltless there,
As in their channel first they were.
Tell me the people that do keep
Within the kingdoms of the deep;
Or fetch me back that cloud again,
Beshivered into seeds of rain.
Tell me the motes, dust, sands, and spears
Of corn, when summer shakes his ears;
Show me that world of stars, and whence
They noiseless spill their influence.
This if thou canst; then show me Him
That rides the glorious cherubim.

Why was this poem recommended?

Currently this poetry engine looks a set of features about the poems and chooses a poem with the most similar set of features. Below you can see the features of each poem. Right now "most similar" is a simple Euclidean distance. Further work includes adding more sophisticated features and determining similarity differently. I talk about the features and similarity metric more on the about page.


Feature For Freckle-Faced Gerald To Find God
NumLines 33 16
NumWords 206 106
WidthInChar 37.72 34.88
AvgWordSize 4.45 4.42
RepetitionScore 0.34 0.35
ObscurityScore 0.45 0.45
SentenceScore 0.20 0.19