Monday, February 19, 2007

Revised Poem

This poem was written in April '06. Here's the original. And I can't get the lines to break correctly. (How do you tab in Blogger?)


The military needed cheap labor
to move office furniture
into the newly remodeled Pentagon,
so they had the grunts do the work.
My father made the 300-mile round-trip
for five weeks to get the job done.
Sometimes he gave rides to other enlisteds,
and charged a small fee to those
who needed a lift.

My father, who in 1969
would have done anything
for his wife and newborn daughter,
put desks together for generals and elite brass
in the oppressive summer heat, the Summer of Love,
wiping his sweaty face in the mirror
of a bathroom marked “colored only”
in segregated Virginia.

One day, he said,
the higher-ups will realize
the world is put together by men like me.


Cate said...

Wonderful poem, January.

Emily said...

beautiful poem...i especially loved the last line...i like your changes

split ends said...

I love the poem. As for tabs, I'm not sure if this still works in blogger (I switched to wordpress several months ago, and it works here, and I'm pretty sure it worked before I left), but try formating the piece as a Word doc just the way you want it. Then copy and paste it into the entry page. Don't make many (if any) changes (especially hitting enter below the poem) after pasting it in, or the formating will suddenly go schizoid. (So, if you want a paragraph after the poem, enter it first and paste above it.) Hit save, and once you have, if you have to edit it, you will lose the tabs, and have to redo them as a new word document.

It's quite a pain, and every time I do my tabs this way I feel sure that I am missing some simple step... how hard could it be for the geniuses who build these sites to add a tab feature?! But so far I have not figured out any other solution. If you get a better idea, please let me know!

Becoming Amethyst said...

A good solid poem January ~ I think the new stanza breaks and the cutting of those final lines certainly strengthen the work.

As for tabs? I haven't a clue. Me and blogger formatting barely get on....

jim said...

The original seemed to head in a new poem (and I trust you'll save those lines and let them do their own thing, on their own terms), and so the revision here stays with the subject. Really smart choices.

And poo on me. I'm not going to AWP this year as I'll be with my son college shopping (yikes!). I will be up in Massachusetts to do a reading in Springfield in late April, and I should have a day to hit Boston.

twitches said...

The revised version does seem much tighter, more concise. I like the changes.

wendy said...

queen of last lines..longmay she write!

January said...

Oh, you guys.

Split Ends, I've tried that, only to have the text wrap without any breaks. If I weren't so lazy, I'd switch to another platform.

Jim, yes, I'd love to meet up with you in Boston or Springfield. Yippee!


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