Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(pre)occupation

Someone had been working in this Huntington office building the other night with paint brushes, a circular saw and a nail gun. When I took a closer look in the window, I saw a worn paperback of Great American Short Stories splayed on the floor next to a pile of lumber. Of course, I thought about a poem:

Day Job and Night Job
by Andrew Hudgins

After my night job, I sat in class
and ate, every thirteen minutes,
an orange peanut—butter cracker.
Bright grease adorned my notes.

At noon I rushed to my day job
and pushed a broom enough
to keep the boss calm if not happy.
In a hiding place, walled off

by bolts of calico and serge,
I read my masters and copied
Donne, Marlowe, Dickinson, and Frost,
scrawling the words I envied,

so my hand could move as theirs had moved
and learn outside of logic
how the masters wrote. But why? Words
would never heal the sick,

feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
blah, blah, blah.
Why couldn't I be practical,
Dad asked, and study law—

or take a single business class?
I stewed on what and why
till driving into work one day,
a burger on my thigh

and a sweating Coke between my knees,
I yelled, "Because I want to!"—
pained—thrilled!—as I looked down
from somewhere in the blue

and saw beneath my chastened gaze
another slack romantic
chasing his heart like an unleashed dog
chasing a pickup truck.

And then I spilled my Coke. In sugar
I sat and fought a smirk.
I could see my new life clear before me.
lt looked the same. Like work.

10 comments:

Unseen Rajasthan said...

Lovely image and beautiful words !!Do check my another blog also i.e.Unseen Rajasthan

Judy Williams said...

What a great poem.

Something about "bright grease adorned my notes." I like that line.

Terrific architecture and geometry here with great use of shadow, midtones and highlights.

With all the talk of spilled Coke, I can't help but think of Mom's rug,victim to that sappy dark nectar, and how we remedied that situation by picking out a new one at a flooring store yesterday. I bet 20.00 she'll think the same. :~)

Susan C said...

I'd love to read your own life version of day job, night job.

Wayne said...

It's circular saw LA, not circle saw. Although I suppose it could be if someone were cutting circles.

Margaret said...

I love how you walk around town, see things, and think of poems, and then you actually have the perfect poem to think of . How do you do that?

Shanna said...

Lovely thought, Margaret.

Again, a perfect photo/text combination.

Cafe Pasadena said...

Margaret, let me tell you how Miss Laurie does it: I'm de supplier of her material. She does great work 4 sure, I agree.
Isn't that your View, too, Shanna?

Vanda said...

Great poem.

altadenahiker said...

I love this post. and I've memorized the last four lines.

Laurie said...

Hi folks,

Welcome Unseen Rajasthan!

Thanks, Judy. And yay for Mom's new rug!

Wayne... oh dear. A big oops on the circle, er, circular saw. I'll fix that immediately!

Susan, I'm sure we all have some good day job/night job stories to tell. Cliff's Notes version for me: day job as a temp, night job as a waitress.

Margaret, you're so nice. I have a weird and completely useless ability to remember songs and poems. With poems, I always remember a line and then I can look it up from that.

Thanks, Shanna.

And Cafe, shhhh!

Vanda, I agree. Like Altadenahiker, I have the last line memorized.

Thanks, everyone! Now, I'm off to correct circle saw to circular...

Til tomorrow!