May 8, 2008

What I Do

I discovered a literary web site today while browsing for writing competitions. The web site is: I found a poem by Marvin Bell that I liked. Bell has published seventeen books of poetry, is Iowa's poet laureate, and recipient of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award.

What I Do

I haven't written what I was supposed to
so now I have to get my paper tongue wagging
while the band saw spins its way through plywood
in the next driveway, and the one who makes
his living on a ladder hoses the mansard shingles.
There’s upkeep to be kept up before winter
shaves the water side of the house. The sandy wind
doesn’t stop for current events, but pebbles
newspaper pages wrinkling in the streets
until events have faded with this workday’s
gasoline rainbows. A streetsweeper hunting leaves
crumples the scandals in Bodoni type
that keep us literate with morning joe. Say hello
to a stranger and he will know someone who knows
someone who knows you, or has heard of you,
or thinks he may have heard of you by another name.
It’s the opening hour, now the windows are dressed,
and a force begins to sweep its way inside
and down the aisles, hungering after the retail life.
It’s the roll-up-your-sleeves hour, when
you have to make a living again, and it won’t matter
if it’s wartime or peacetime if you can’t.

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