Issue 1, Poetry

Work Poems

Alfredo Norfini, Carreão para Beneficiar Café, 1850

Work Poem
The things in their places were put.
Before asking, there was there.
Worm toiled, earth stayed, night waited:
It was deafening.

Now things and places are put upon.
New names of death are said.
Fog falls upside down.
The trembling is heavy and quiet.

The hours’ fingers are dulled.
What is seen is not heard.
The debt incurred is paid.
The fleeing begins.
Nothing is stopped.

Work Poem
Destruction comes from any direction,
Backwards or forwards: Everything must go
Will read the sign once I leave for good.
A murder and a yard sale,

A diver mines a shipwreck.
A phantom flees, a desert waits,
Small losses abound and fortunes are found—
Never made—

But often (like certain people’s beds) unmade.
Whatever’s in the fridge it isn’t good.
The bounty’s in the pantry.
Even if you are a liar you must listen.

Work Poem
Human beings are horrible bat-monsters, flying around using sonar, hoarding rotten food in their coat pockets, scratching insults into bathroom walls, having sex with dead people etc.
What must be done?
I don’t work at an amusement park but I’ll take you for a ride if you want.
Just don’t ask questions about my twenties.
Well have you ever felt so ashamed you started humming?
Even if it does get better some memories don’t go away.
Sit down so I can claw your eyes out.
Yes, I see it inside you somewhere, somewhere ugly and warm.
If you don’t like it just return it to the bodega you stole it from.
Who is in charge?
At night it doesn’t get any darker, just louder.
Some kind of serious shit is emerging from the floor, climbing up through the gaps between your toes.
Leave it alone. You can’t do anything about the situation. Not in that outfit.
I would teach you how to drive if there was a really long, quiet road around here somewhere and it just went straight in one direction for hundreds and hundreds of miles, and by the time you just collapsed of exhaustion and drove into a pole you’d be in a different place, a different time, the trees looked different, you could smell the morning like you’d never seen a parking ticket or a bureaucrat or a cop in your life, the wind rushing around in your hair starts talking to you about what the weather is like up north, how the geology out west makes everything sound like you’re six feet off the surface of the moon, what magma has to say about the inside of the earth, and what that is, to be clear, is definitely not peace, but still something like the thing we really want when we think we want peace—a way of moving through space with grace and power and in sweeps and surges rather than trips and jerks, a kind of knowledge of the things around us which can only be obtained through touch, a straining, a current, a pulling away at things—yes I might teach you to drive if there were some hope of finding such a road.