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

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).


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

July/August 2012
 Mark  Levine


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.

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Poem Categorization

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

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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