Unemployment (3)

By Mark Levine Mark Levine
Out of cash, out of well-fitting trousers,
Out of soap and apples,
Out of pencils, out of my keeper’s
Reach.

I wish to set myself afire
But may not. This morning
(Last night) in the common room
I watched the administration
Of oxygen to one who had none

And I would not sit down, demanding
To do so.

Later I happened on a man
At the piano, and though I have happened five or six times
On men at the piano,
None moved his hand like this
Within the keys.

I sat beside him, looking for a sound
A chest sound. Not listening; I don’t listen
Anymore. I make music
But I don’t listen.

Source: Poetry (July/August 2012).

MORE FROM THIS ISSUE

This poem originally appeared in the July/August 2012 issue of Poetry magazine

July/August 2012
 Mark  Levine

Biography

Mark Levine has written three books of poems, most recently The Wilds (University of California Press, 2006), and a book of nonfiction. He teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Continue reading this biography

Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Living, Sorrow & Grieving, The Body, Activities, Jobs & Working, Arts & Sciences, Music, Social Commentaries, Class

Poetic Terms Free Verse

Report a problem with this poem


Your results will be limited to content that appeared in Poetry magazine.

Search Every Issue of Poetry

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.