Fired AgainI've known the pleasures of being
fired at least eleven times ---
most notably by Larry who found my snood
unsuitable, another time by Jack,
whom I was sleeping with. Poor attitude,
tardiness, a contagious lack
of team spirit; I have been unmotivated
squirting perfume onto little cards,
while stocking salad bars, when stripping
covers from romance novels, their heroines
slaving on the chain gang of obsessive love ---
and always the same hard candy
of shame dissolving in my throat;
handing in my apron, returning the cash-
register key. And yet, how fine it feels,
the perversity of freedom which never signs
a rent check or explains anything to one's family
--- Erin Belieu
From One Above & One Below
The PhilosopherA man rides a bicycle into town. He's forgotten his clothes,
or maybe this is what he means to do.
He rides carefully into the burning town.
Apartments of old stone list, iron balconies, awnings,
the window-grates blacken with heat. He rides by.
His lip perspires, his eyes intent.
In the hills behind him there is a glow that is not the burning.
The Acropolis maybe. The Dome of the Rock.
The man has a book under his arm. The pages are gilt-edged, the title
has worn away. He has a shoulder-wound also, an old crescent scar.
Now his chest sweats, now his abdomen.
He is more agile than laughter.
The road turns. A black sedan rounds the comer
behind him. They are leaving town or they're trailing him.
Either way it's too late.
The man is not cold without clothes. He sees whole worlds
wherever he looks, and this keeps him busy.
Maps and globes and civilizations not on fire.
Now when he stops and considers the spokes, the bicycle tires,
he sees ashes, nails, explosions of glass.
He does not believe in this. He believes in something else.--- Rebecca Wee
From Uncertain GraceBoth poems ©2001,
Copper Canyon Press
Pt. Townsend WA 98368