Tag Archives: poverty

Poetry: Sunset Park

The Chinese truck driver
throws the rope
like a lasso, with a practiced flick,

over the load:
where it hovers an instant,
then arcs like a willow

into the waiting,
gloved hand
of his brother.

What does it matter
that, sitting in traffic,
I glanced out the window

and found them that way?
So lean and sleek-muscled
in their sweat-stiffened t-shirts:

offloading the pallets
just so they can load up
again in the morning,

and so on,
and so forth
forever like that—

like Sisyphus
I might tell them
if I spoke Mandarin,

or had a Marlboro to offer,
or thought for a minute
they’d believe it

when I say that I know
how it feels
to break your own

back for a living.

read more

Patrick Phillips

This Is the Poem That’s Going to Get Me Out of the Mines

This is one of my favorite prose poems of all time, a transcendentally self-mocking poetic creed that’s a delight from start to finish.

Jonathan did it. He teaches at a university in Washington now.
Or Oregon. I forget. But he said he gets fifty grand a year.
To teach creative writing. That’s like winning the lottery.
I make thirty grand and my lungs are turning into a collection
of twisted lies. I cough more than I think. I asked Jonathan
how he did it and he said he didn’t know. It was like God
napalmed him with luck. He got some award for a poem
about a goddamn lake and suddenly they pay him a thousand
dollars to read for fifty minutes in an auditorium filled
with students who don’t want to be there. I tell him to seriously
tell me how to do it and he said you have to make sure
there’s a lot of mist in the poem, that they can see the mist,
feel the mist, and then just go from there. He says that poets
love mist. They want so much mist in a poem that you can’t
see anything else other than mist and then from that mist
you have something really beautiful peek through and then
something really ugly peek through. But it can’t be too ugly,
he says, or you’re fucked. And he says don’t swear. He says
you want mist and beauty and a touch of ugly

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-Ron Riekki, Juked

A Long Way from the Hamptons

There ain’t no cure for the summertime blues. —Eddie Cochran

You can’t spend summers pulling auto parts at the Queens
warehouse without learning how tough it is to walk on concrete floors.

Not a shoe will cushion you as you trek from shelf to cart,
filling cardboard cartons with windshield wipers.

You wheel your cart around the corner to grab a Balkamp 1729
and discover Thelma leaning up against the metal cabinets,

sniffling and rubbing her foot. This is temporary for me, you think.
You are so bored you pull three or four orders at once,

boxes stacked up in the cart, tiny screws hop-skipping
into the wrong order. The checkers on the packing line call you

for pulling a 1728 instead of 29, and you run
the correct part to the front. You are still so bored

you vow you’ll never complain about droning lectures
and fall term classes that were not your first choice.

Afternoons, you smoke a joint with the boss’s daughter, ruining
your accuracy for the rest of the day. You can’t afford to get fired.

Going home in your red Chevy with rotted floorboards, you watch
the street roll under you like a conveyor belt studded with rocks.

You idle at the stop sign, next to a Mustang with a sun-tanned boy
at the wheel. His radio is turned to all the songs of summer.

You don’t know what you know, just that your legs ache, and
still you tap them to the music before the boy drives away.

-Elizabeth Drewry, Cooper Street Journal

Let’s Rainbow Rowell It Up in Here

Rainbow Rowell is one of my favorite authors, and indisputably one of the best young adult novelists out there. So have two bits of deliciousness today.

First, Buzzfeed did a great interview of her, from Ashley Ford who goes by smashfizzle on Tumblr –

“The first time Rowell wrote about the struggles of her childhood was in her column for the Omaha World Herald. Her voice lowers a bit, serious but without shame. “I was living in rural areas often without power or a phone or a car. Our water came from a well and a pump. My dad was not around and when he was around, he was not good. There was a lot of alcohol abuse and drug abuse. I feel like I need to say that I’m probably sane and alive because I had a really great mom. Eventually, when we moved to the city and we were on welfare, it was a step up. Being poor in the city was easier than being poor in the country.”

Despite their living conditions, Rowell remembers a home where her father read her The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Books were her safe haven. “My mother was very strict, there was very little on television that we were allowed to watch, there were very few movies that we were allowed to watch. But she’d let me read anything.”

And a favorite Youtube book reviewer Polesandbananas covered Landline with her usual pizzazz –

Caffeinated Links: Gwen/Peter Featurette, Wes Anderson, Gillian Anderson on Women in TV

So cute.

The New York Times on inbuilt poverty – “Critics note that if a person manages to get through high school and avoid drugs, crime and parenting outside of marriage, it’s often possible to escape poverty. Fair enough. But if you’re one of the one-fifth of children in West Virginia born with drugs or alcohol in your system, if you ingest lead from peeling paint as a toddler, if your hearing or vision impairments aren’t detected, if you live in a home with no books in a gang-ridden neighborhood with terrible schools — in all these cases, you’re programmed for failure as surely as children of professionals are programmed for success.” RT

William Dafoe via Indiewire on the differences between working with Lars von Trier and Wes Anderson – “There are similarities, but there are probably more differences. You know, their interests, they have a different kind of cinema, but they both have very clear visions, their ways of working are very different. Wes likes to shoot a lot, he’s very obsessive, and he works things out ahead of time. Lars prohibits rehearsal, because he wants the actor off-balance and he wants the actor to be fresh, he doesn’t want them to be able to deliver a performance, he wants the performance to happen. I mean that’s my interpretation of it, but he really doesn’t want them to rehearse. Also, the camera is more fluid, some shots are very designed but they’re huge signs.

In the sequences in Lars’ work where the camera moves, you don’t even know where it is, and he really believes you can cut anything to anything so he doesn’t shoot conventionally. Wes doesn’t shoot conventionally but he does shoot in a very formal way. He really knows the frame, while he may have these wildly athletic camera shots, it’s quite built. He plays very little with chance.” RT

EW has 10 pilot season trends for fall. “IN: Spin-Offs: SO many this year, plus a copycat bonus: Two are set in New Orleans. CBS is yet again expanding its acronym-based cop-show empire with a Big Easy edition of NCIS starring Quantum Leap‘s Scott Bakula plus a Virgina-based CSI set in the FBI Cyber Crimes Division starring ex-Medium Patricia Arquette. Also: The CW’sSupernatural has its spin-off Tribes starring Lucien Laviscount and Nathaniel Buzolic while Arrow has The Flashstarring Grant Gustin. CBS’ How I Met Your Mother spin-off pilot How I Met Your Dad, a female-view twist on the departing hit sitcom starring Greta Gerwig, which is considered a lock for a fall series.” RT

Really, really great interview with Gillian Anderson on choosing a career in the UK, and her work. “Despite her full slate, Anderson keeps busy away from acting. She recently announced “A Vision of Fire,” the first book in a co-authored science fiction series with writer Jeff Rovin, who approached Anderson with the idea, as well as narration for the Emma Thompson–produced film “Sold,” about the child slavery and sex trade industry. “I’ve got so much to say about that,” she says. “Hopefully [the film’s] presence will shine a light on the situation, because the sale of children is becoming the No. 1 industry in the world.” RT

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