The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

By Philip Levine

   Leo's Tool & Die, 1950

In the early morning before the shop
opens, men standing out in the yard
on pine planks over the umber mud.
The oil drum, squat, brooding, brimmed
with metal scraps, three-armed crosses,
silver shavings whitened with milky oil,
drill bits bitten off. The light diamonds
last night's rain; inside a buzzer purrs.
The overhead door stammers upward
to reveal the scene of our day.

                                 We sit
for lunch on crates before the open door.
Bobeck, the boss's nephew, squats to hug
the overflowing drum, gasps and lifts. Rain
comes down in sheets staining his gun-metal
covert suit. A stake truck sloshes off
as the sun returns through a low sky.
By four the office help has driven off. We
sweep, wash up, punch out, collect outside
for a final smoke. The great door crashes
down at last.

               In the darkness the scents
of mint, apples, asters. In the darkness
this could be a Carthaginian outpost sent
to guard the waters of the West, those mounds
could be elephants at rest, the acrid half light
the haze of stars striking armor if stars were out.
On the galvanized tin roof the tunes of sudden rain.
The slow light of Friday morning in Michigan,
the one we waited for, shows seven hills
of scraped earth topped with crab grass,
weeds, a black oil drum empty, glistening
at the exact center of the modern world.


I didn't have much excitement in my day (other than cussing at the news and stuff) until my son's friend who gets no supervision at home and spends half his time over here managed to break the drawer of a 50+ year old desk that once belonged to my husband's grandfather. It's just old, not antique -- in lousy condition and not worth anything -- but this is just typical of what happens when this kid is in my house. Otherwise I had a relatively quiet morning, taking a walk in the gorgeous weather that we continue to have and reporting on such Trek events as James Darren's Time Tunnel being released on DVD and an Adelaide theatre company that usually adapts Terry Pratchett performing "The Trouble With Tribbles" as a stage comedy.

Older son had fencing, I had a perfectly lovely evening writing in darktwistngpath and chatting with various people, we half-watched Digging For the Truth about Native American pyramids built in the Mississippi River Valley. And now I am distracted and must go. Vanity Fair is on one of the cable channels. James Purefoy is making love with Reese Witherspoon. It may not be a great adaptation of the novel, but this is a damned attractive sight nonetheless. *g*

One of the golden lion tamarins at the National Aquarium in Baltimore last weekend.

These little monkeys live in the rainforest on the roof of the oldest building, the one housing the giant ray tank, Atlantic exhibits and shark tank.

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