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Callaloo 25.4 (2002) 1024

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Carry 't to the Captain

Ed Roberson

Down the halls the manager
what I call chops
his step as if laying in the wood
to keep the idea going that he is
that       hot that folks say       burnin'

The offices only warm
enough to make you nod off
to sleep       really clients
straggle in like homeless
just to seat their business

some place quiet
'til they have to get out
in the noise
A gathering 'round the garbage

burning toward
an in the can off your desk and out
of your hands       it's simple
the real warmth

not being out in the cold and no cash
For this you sit on your ass
all day a sazen       a seated meditation
on money
a rosary of the keyboard

to get through this
hell       nigger
in the woodpile the human
resource office
has not moved its wording up a bit for you.


Ed Roberson is author of a number of volumes of poems, including When Thy King Is a Boy, Lucid Interval as Integral Music, Voices Cast Out To Talk Us In (winner of the 1995 Iowa Poetry Prize), and Just In: Word of Navigational Change, New and Selected Work (winner of the 1998 National Poetry Series Competition). He lives in New Jersey.



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