Labor Day

So I say to my friend at the day job
“We are bored sometimes, and scented like realtors
but if everyone’s equally disconsolate
under labor’s gooey caul
then nuance can be stitched more vividly
to secrets lodged inside of everyone
until it becomes your own country
with highways that carry you silently past the jetty
which, from their heavy drinking, the case managers come out to
failing to be stable and badly attempting to sing”

We’re pushing our barques past the mansions
as I say this, near the dwellings of persons
whose lives have no mooring
outside the slow fact of our passing—
huddled arrogantly under their air-conditioning
they want us to be users
moved by advertisers
enticing the constituency
to join them and sit there and weep

But we’re too busy pulling
toward centers where workers assemble.
While time for them is a melody
played at long intervals across condominiums
we who are the power
know our systems so much better
now come to this hour outside it
now give it new form on guitar

Rodney Koeneke, “Labor Day” from Etruria. Copyright © 2014 by Rodney Koeneke. Reprinted by permission of Wave Books.
Source: Etruria (Wave Books, 2014)
More Poems by Rodney Koeneke