workzine

Jim Daniels, 2/6/2012

Current Occupation: college professor

Former Occupation: these two poems come out of stints as an auto worker and a bank bookkeeper

Contact Information: Jim Daniels’ most recent books include Trigger Man, fiction, Michigan State University Press, Having a Little Talk with Capital P Poetry, Carnegie Mellon University Press, and All of the Above, Adastra Press. He has also written three films, most recently “Mr. Pleasant.” A native of Detroit, Daniels lives in Pittsburgh near the boyhood homes of Dan Marino and Andy Warhol.

###

ROUGE OVERPASS, DETROIT

You shouldn’t be able to smell your work from where you live.

Beady-Eye Steve

Yellow smoke rises to the right,

gray smoke to the left. Incense

for the holy sacrament of the dollar bill.

On the paved river, Jesus drives

his big boat. We pinch our noses

at the smell of his decomposing body

or maybe we don’t, depending

on our vestments, depending

on our chosen exits, depending on

the names of our saints.

#

HOSTAGE ESCAPES FROM OFFICE

You grab the enormous maraca of antacids and toss it

in your briefcase. It rattles like fire-hall bingo.

Rain clots into sleet out the petulant window. Or maybe

it’s the one ragged robin dodging ice bullets

that’s petulant. Ball bearings roll through your veins,

no flippers to send them back into play.

Your boss banjo-picking on his raft, rolls pleasantly

down the river of his own cruelty, no catching him

for clarification. Nothing nice rhymes with boss.

Under your arms, you’re leaking shame.

The office silent but for the scratch-clack

of computers and the percussion of your briefcase

snapping shut. At six o’clock, you head out

into it. Traveler’s advisory, but you stop

to watch your breath.

#

back to WORK

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