Friday, February 20, 2015

A Quiet Afternoon at the Office

Yesterday's group of ducks around a small serving of cracked corn reminds me of a campfire.
I guess this is the mallards' office; they're at work. Orange feet help in fiery illusion.
We are having great weather; I guess we had just as well enjoy it.

A Quiet Afternoon at the Office

When you're overwhelmed at your job
       & the room is a field of consciousness,
      forming first the violet edges
   & later the pierced spiral
              of what just happened,
you try to remember events while you
stumble over twigs of the day like a red bee.
        So much anger in the economy
     after too much not enough—
people setting tents in the streets,
              the last of the fruit gives way
on branches you see as you work
   holding the annihilated breath.

Now that the crisis has no locale
there's a sense of the lively unit
into which they had placed feeling:
fatigue & theory, cornice & cup,
links of your spine on the chair…
what will they do, will they do, will they do
when labor rebels but not quickly?
It was so much work to cohere—
a radical hope fills in: revolt
in the square, thin crows,
fat capital, the ash, the lists,
the fire you'd been harvesting, for this—
                                                                                                          for MM
Brenda Hillman

Seasonal Works with Letters on Fire, Wesleyan, 2014, page 74.
This newest book of Hillman's is great to hang out with. It is very economical, but not stingy. One needs to read carefully, and think about the times we are living in. The next page gives us this exact same text as A Quiet Afternoon at the Office II, but as a paragraph, with a word-sized space between each line. It is wonderful to compare the effect of each.

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