Al Young title

GRAMMAR NAZI

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When she explained how she was set free

but her boyfriend and best friend weren’t

(“I don’t know what it was about him and her

and I”), you loathe the fool who would collar

her and say: “About him and her and me!”

So you shine it on, the same as you’ve given up

whom and less and fewer and good and well

and was and were as in If I Were a Bell (not

If I Was a Bell) I’d go “Ding-dong-ding-dong, ding!”

Well, look at where you’re coming from:

the grammar Nazi who knows subjunctive mode

(or, better yet, mood), knows indirect object

pronouns, verb-needy nouns, lie, lay, laid, lain.

You know its and it’s and neither, nor, further

farther, “Me and Julio Down By the Schoolyard.”

Besides, she’s younger than you. Bitten, mother

tongue suffers. Language, gauged and negotiated,

sends thumbs fumbling and twirling unjustly.

She compares and contrasts sweethearts and cohorts.

You feel their pain and her shame. You lighten up.

— Al Young

© 2011 Al Young
© vozamer

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