The Other Side of This World

By Calvin Forbes b. 1945 Calvin Forbes
Put my glad rags in a cardboard box—
This old jiggerboo never grew mature.
Is everthing in its place except me?
Don’t be surprised; I called all day

And the only person I could reach was
The operator; and it’s a sorry day when
Nothing is coming down but your foot.
And how deep is your stomach cause

That’s how far your heart will fall!
When I’m gone I might come back cause
I’m always forgetting something special.
A crease in my overalls, my collar stiff,

I cried as many tears as I have teeth.
And I only got two in my mouth. Son of the
Sun look out: as you get black you burn.
Is everything in its place except me?

Calvin Forbes, “The Other Side of This World” from Ploughshares (1974).

Source: Ploughshares (1974)

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Poet Calvin Forbes b. 1945

Subjects Living, Disappointment & Failure, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries

 Calvin  Forbes

Biography

Calvin Forbes teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.” His first book, . . .

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Poems by Calvin Forbes

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Disappointment & Failure, Arts & Sciences, Humor & Satire, Social Commentaries

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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