Poem of the Week, by Richard Jones

IMG_6359Old 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,
kissing her,
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. 


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Poem of the Week, by Richard Jones

Whatever brain function places memory within the context of time is lacking in me, which means that something that happened 20 years ago could have happened last year. That is why every Saturday, when I find the right poem to send out, I check my Sent files to make sure I didn’t already send it a few weeks ago. When I came to this one, which I’ve loved for twelve years because it feels like a tiny prayer of redemption, I was sure I’d sent it recently. But the only Richard Jones reference in any of my 64,428 emails was a note from my poetry-loving son in 2012, telling me about one of his professors in Chicago, a guy named Richard Jones, who was a poet whose work he thought I would like. Which goes to prove that 1) the world is small, 2) a beautiful poem transcends time, and 3) my son is so awesome.

After Work

– 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,
kissing her,
mi vida, mi corazon,
brushing the hair out of her eyes
so she can see.




​For more information on Richard Jones, please click here.