Old men who hold their wives’ handbags for them as they put on their coats. Young fathers who hold their toddlers’ hands as they cross the street. The girl who jumps up to open the door for the woman using the walker. The cafe manager who keeps a water bowl outside, filled with cool water, for passing dogs. The man with the truck who goes up and down the rural road, plowing out his elderly neighbors. Everyone waving goodbye, tears in their eyes, as the ones they love disappear into the airport, like in the movie Love Actually*. The movie Love Actually. A note left in a poetry box, thanking the “poem attendant” for “all the good poems.” A carful of grinning men chattering in Spanish, pulling over to the side of a snowy road and pushing the young woman’s car out of the ditch. The world is full of sweetness. When I need to remind myself of that, which is often, in these days of bewildering cruelty and greed by our elected employees, this is one of the poems I recite to myself.
After Work, by Richard Jones
Coming up from the subway
into the cool Manhattan evening,
I feel rough hands on my heart –
women in the market yelling
over rows of tomatoes and peppers,
old men sitting on a stoop playing cards,
cabbies cursing each other with fists
while the music of church bells
sails over the street,
and the father, angry and tired
after working all day,
embracing his little girl,
mi vida, mi corazon,
brushing the hair out of her eyes
so she can see.
For more information on Richard Jones, please click here.
*I love Love Actually except for how mean they are to Aurelia’s sister. And I fast-forward past Sarah and Karl’s scenes because they are too painful.
I love receiving these poems and this one I particularly loved. Every word is just right.
This little poem is a perfect summary of why I’ve wanted to live in NYC my entire life.
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I completely see you there, Amy. xo