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March 08, 2001 - Image 17

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-03-08

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



16B - The Michigan Daily - Literary Magazine - Thursday, March 8, 2001

Penn1salt
By Christopher Gerben
This is my definition
of sulfur fumes and baseball diamonds
and breathing men in quarries,
This is the scene of every truck
on the road
or every luxury bought through
overtime and pension plans,
This is where the water runs
and collects in the lives of folks
caught in-between the extremes
of union-bought ignorance,
full on days' paid leave in metal lunchboxes
containing little more than bread crumbs

and the names on the oiled untucked work shirts,
Or the ones
born in the wrong place
at exactly the right time, coming
into knowing what it is to not belong
and be completely necessary,
to leave and return
for a clearer view of the lunch break sadness
snapped through an expert lens of distance
A stranger in my hometown.
This is my definition
of 9 to 5 high school hysteria
extended to a new assembly line
self-sustaining its life force
of one life at a time as the skyline burns
with an eternal flame
burning by-products begat of pure refinery
on time cards never punched out,

When the whistle blows
9 a.m., I see them
slowly circumventing life's chores,
to mourn the hope or something better
like Moses in the wilderness
or God behind the clouds
smiling through a smolt smog
Delivering his people.
This is my definition
of the endless decline in stagnant waters
befalling my brothers below
as I climb alone,
grieving the faceless names of asphalt-gold
paved roads, hot patched for summer
waiting, barely living, I go
to the next pay check cashed out
and signed over to a fresh account
not me, not now, vanished
Down the River.

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I

CLOSING PRAYER
BY CHRISTOPHER GERBEN
Write a book about me
when Tm gone
anf add commentary
to arcmi misadventures
' you Cat
ut make a nicer ending
than reaity wiCC aCfow
Write me into-an ayfCe
orchard
and a bi od house
with a og
wearing overaCs
oes that make yjou laugh?
you know what I mean
n a scene of Everyday
Autumn
I-farvesting
andwaflig home
a(ong a dusty trai(
humming quiety
knowing a I the apples Ive
Left behind
wiffbe safe andhappy
and'Red Deficious
West Side
Book Shop
since 1975
Used & Rare
Books
Bought & Sold
113 W. Liberty
(1/2 block W. of Main St.)
995-1891

i

eBUDDHIST BOOKS & ART
-MEDITATION SUPPLIES
eTIBETAN & HIMALAYAN JEWELRY & CRAFTS
-TIBETAN COATS, VESTS, SWEATERS, HATS & GENUINE
PASHMINA SHAWLS
eTIBETAN CARPETS
eAUDIO & VIDEO TAPES
Special Jewel Heart Guest
Joan Halfax, PhD
Anthropologist, Buddhist Teacher, Author, Social Activist
March 16 - 7PM-$7.50
March 17 - 10AM-5PM -$35.00
Tickets Available at Jewel Heart or by phone
207 E. Washington
(between Fourth and Fifth)
994-3385
www.jewelheart.org

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