Frank Murphy

In the Bronx on 138th Street
When the 3rd Avenue el still ran overhead,
My sister stole my comic books to
buy cigarettes,
Classics Illustrated 15 cents
Not the dime Batman, Superman, Plastic Man,
     Archie, Tales of the Crypt, Captain Marvel
but the top of the shelf stuff, my Classic Comic Books.


She’d get 3 cents apiece for them
and if I wanted them back it would cost me
10 cents, Les Miserables, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,
The Iliad, The Odyssey, Hamlet, Macbeth…
                                My classical education sold for 3 cents
and standing on a shelf in a candy store under the el
a sign above them, “Used Comics 10 Cents

It pissed me off, seeing my comics there
but she was my baby sister
          I'll get over it





FRANK MURPHY is currently chief editor of Home Planet News Online. For sixteen years he was the co-editor of The NYC Poetry Calendar. His latest book of poems is titled A Great Disorder. He has been writing since the sixties, been published in many magazines and several anthologies, and has given readings throughout the country.