Charles Chaim Wax


Devoted To His Art - Poem by Charles Chaim Wax

After ten years of teaching
in Brooklyn
I attended
the Rochester Institute of Technology
for three years
and needed only to present my Thesis
but broke
and hadn’t paid a credit card bill
in months
perhaps a year
so I sought a job
answering an ad for a “Legal Editor”
went to the place near Avon, NY
and was given a Xerox copy of
a Local Ordinance
the instructions simply saying
Revise,
correct,
and clarify.
The Ordinance was entitled:
Unlicensed Junkyards in Palmyra
the entire paper
printed in extraordinarily small type
and written in the most
obtuse legal language
so that not only couldn’t I understand
the text itself
but the instructions
left me mystified
as to exactly what I should do
yet I took a closer look
but hadn’t the faintest notion
what kind of corrections
were needed. At that moment
I longed
for the emotional subtleties of
a poem
but I figured
the best thing was to transform
the entire text
into simple declarative
sentences so I flooded the paper
with periods.
“Time’s up, ” said the woman.
“Should I call? ” I asked
“Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”
The next day I saw
a classmate, Bill Binter,
told him of the opening
for the Legal Editor job
because he too was looking for work.”
He said, “Sounds horrible
Damn it, Bernstein,
don’t torture your eyes by reading
tons of local ordinances. Just wait—
we all have to. Our time
as artists will come. Hell—it’s here now
we just don’t get paid that’s all.”
On Monday morning
a man knocked on my door. “Who’s there? ” I asked.
“J. J. Commander
from the Commander Collection Agency.”
“Yes.”
“I’m here to see Steve Bernstein.”
“Deceased, ” I said solemnly.
“Who am I speaking to? ” he asked.
“Lyman H. Hoysradt
I moved in yesterday.
I have a brain tumor.”


Comments about Devoted To His Art by Charles Chaim Wax

  • (1/21/2006 9:12:00 AM)


    a simple message nicely handled (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (11/19/2005 4:36:00 PM)


    awesomely enthralling, thank you (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, November 1, 2005



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