Wordsworth pg. 8857 Workers also appeared in don't blame the ugly mug anthology, edited by Steve Ramerez and Ben Trigg. I wrote the marketing blurb for the back cover.


Wordsworth      pg. 8857     Workers  

 

Dressing in costumes and rubberheads of mouse,
dog or duck, for some, is work: moving a child
to believe in magic—or an adult to tears. If man
pushes or pulls without moving an object, he is not
a worker. (See: ant; bee; termite.) This summer,

the Characters at Disneyland went on strike.
Cinderella and Pluto sat on the curb, smoked
by the main gate. A good machine should break in,
not down. Why won’t you answer when I ask
When’s the deadline? What’s done is what matters.

Motion is produced against resistance. In 1786,
a revolt in Worchester: Been pulled and hauled,
and my cattle sold for less than they’re worth.
How much is one’s word worth while compiling
a wordbook or stealing a rowboat? Work to release

the chain that holds the boat to a tree. Step in. Push
from shore. Row to where no one can see. Your face
fixed on the bag in the hull. In fairy tales,
this is how it’s done. Work. A gruesome task,
but the pay is good. There’s usually a queen involved.

Proof of death: a lock of hair, lungs or liver.
You tap your pocket—yup, it’s in there
—pull the cargo, tip it up and pitch overboard.
The dead girl swirls into the black. A dead
line through the water. Well, now, at least

that’s done, it’s done. Revelation of the lake.
I am both murderer and murdered. I am real
and not real. I am of two minds. Stroke. The resistance
of water to oar, paper to pen, ground to boots
climbing a mountain only to miss the point:

everything is rabbit out of a hat, Pluto
on the guillotine. It’s against Company policy
to remove one’s head in full view of the Guests.
A basket at the base of the blade catches the capital,
the rope works with little friction: a good machine. 


Glider    pg. 3029     Glove

 

The globe maker sands hollow wooden spheres.
The first continent: his hand. Presses,
keeps the globe from rolling as he works. Next,
copper engraved with such precision, when cut
and pasted on the wood, the map fits perfectly.

The globe maker, also farmer (orchard, Vermont),
knows how to shape the earth. Dips a stiff-bristled brush
into the pot of glue, positions a plate in place
—half the horizon held by the strength of horses
in full gallop from maple trees to 

ninety-one miles east of Phoenix: Globe,
Arizona—constellations of copper mines.
See the route and ruin of people who lived
in cliffs. The direction of the earth:
glorious revolution. What can’t be seen: 

time and atmosphere. Ninety-one years after
the first U.S. globes, the Wright Brothers built
—to solve the problem of balance—
glider planes: spruce wood and a strong muslin
covering dependent on currents. Towropes

connect the planes: one guides the other to cloud
—past flat projections distorted by spines
of antique serpents, demons in blue. On the surface
of the ocean float globefish, swollen
in reaction to danger, poison if eaten raw, but also 

a pain cure. It’s a matter of how the flesh is cut.
I follow your instructions. Slip your notes
in my pocket, navigate your gaze, your eyes,
the lighted hemisphere—swim to the island
of your iris, the color of a faraway train,

a country forgotten after ink
on parchment has vanished. I almost wreck.
But fishermen in Gloucester are known for
their skill and your directions are good. A sharp eye
a pupil: a dot on the map. I am here.