Day Job And Night Job Poem by Andrew Hudgins

Day Job And Night Job

Rating: 3.9

After my night job, I sat in class
and ate, every thirteen minutes,
an orange peanut—butter cracker.
Bright grease adorned my notes.

At noon I rushed to my day job
and pushed a broom enough
to keep the boss calm if not happy.
In a hiding place, walled off

by bolts of calico and serge,
I read my masters and copied
Donne, Marlowe, Dickinson, and Frost,
scrawling the words I envied,

so my hand could move as theirs had moved
and learn outside of logic
how the masters wrote. But why? Words
would never heal the sick,

feed the hungry, clothe the naked,
blah, blah, blah.
Why couldn't I be practical,
Dad asked, and study law—

or take a single business class?
I stewed on what and why
till driving into work one day,
a burger on my thigh

and a sweating Coke between my knees,
I yelled, 'Because I want to!'—
pained—thrilled!—as I looked down
from somewhere in the blue

and saw beneath my chastened gaze
another slack romantic
chasing his heart like an unleashed dog
chasing a pickup truck.

And then I spilled my Coke. In sugar
I sat and fought a smirk.
I could see my new life clear before me.
lt looked the same. Like work.

Susan Williams 12 January 2016

I am thoroughly enthralled by this man's writing. Thank you, Kim Barney and Frank Avon, for sharing your thoughts and research. It feels good to spend time with talent

30 1 Reply
Chinedu Dike 16 May 2015

Good narrative poem, nice encapsulated and insightfully penned. Thanks for sharing.

2 1 Reply
Kim Barney 16 May 2015

Amen to everything Frank Avon said below. This poem is captivating. I was drawn in, fascinated, from the beginning and it just kept getting better and better. Fantastic poem from a very talented poet. I'm glad you didn't become a lawyer, Andrew!

5 1 Reply
Frank Avon 16 May 2015

Hudgins is one of the great living poets, and this poem is a prime example. Unlike most modernist and contemporary poetry, it is accessible and direct. It engages readers. Why hasn't he been one of our poets laureate? How many of us - and how often - have had to answer the question, Why couldn't you be more practical? And how well Hudgins' metaphor captures the way we often see ourselves: another slack romantic / chasing his heart like an unleashed dog / chasing a pickup truck. The form of the poem is so subtle that at first I didn't even notice - for example - his rhyming scheme ABCB, with just enough half-rhymes and off-rhymes to keep the tone casual and conversational. Yet the ballad stanza is there, and even before we notice, it has satisfied our yearning for order in a world of disorder.

6 1 Reply
Daniel Y. 23 March 2014

Again, a beautiful poem. the chaotic mixture of technical description and critical frankness give a stark contrast, feels like the poem itself. No doubt this is a personal poem. The hints of special memories, both buried and cherished.

7 1 Reply
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