Tin, a Periodic Table poem by Chicago poet Janet Kuypers

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Tin

Janet Kuypers

from the “ Periodic Table of Poetry” series (#050, Sn)
(sung to a beat)

If I only had a brain

if I only had a brain

I’d get out from under
this bent tin roof
that covers me
as I sleep at night

tin metal sheets
keep the rain away
but the wind

but the wind

if I only had a brain

I wouldn’t use
my old tin cup
to stand and face east
at Canal and Randolph
and ask for change

I wait for commuters
to cross the Chicago river
to get to their train

you see, I wait
at the other side
and the ones with the money
have to walk right by

that’s when I rattle
my old tin cup
give them doe eyes
say “God bless”

but if I only had a brain
I wouldn’t rattle
my tin cup
and ask for tin change
I’d get myself up

if I only had a brain

I’d have a lot of money
I’d eat at fancy restaurants
I’d wear the plastic bib

if I only had a brain
I wouldn’t be poor
drinking
tin cans of Fanta
eating
soup from a tin can
living
on Tin pan alley

if I only had a brain

you might bend me
but I just won’t break
‘cause if I had a brain
then I’d be great

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