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Excerpts:

Unemployment

The chrome lid of the coffee pot
twists off, and the glass knob rinsed.
Lift out the assembly, dump
the grounds out. Wash the pot and
fill with water, put everything back with
fresh grounds and snap the top down.
Plug in again and wait.

Unemployment is also
a great snow deep around the house
choking the street, and the City.
Nothing moves. Newspaper photographs
show the traffic backed up for miles.
Going out to shovel the walk
I think how in a few days the sun will clear this.
No one will know I worked here.

This is like whatever I do.
How strange that so magnificent a thing as a body
with its twinges, its aches
should have all that chemistry, that bulk
the intricate electrical brain
subjected to something as tiny
as buying a postage stamp.
Or selling it.

Or waiting.


Wayman Ascending into the Middle Class

In the middle of a trans-Canada excursion
while he visits for a week with the parents of a friend
Wayman lies in a hammock through the hot August days.
Far behind him now are the horrible winter mornings
he got up in the dark and dragged his lunchbox off to work.
Here, as he sips a drink in the gently rocking couch
scarcely a thought crosses his mind about his old companions
still probably stumbling about complaining as they
hammer nails, steer tugboats
or chase logs through the bush a thousand miles away.

A light breeze springs up. Through half-closed eyes
Wayman contemplates flowers, and a leafy screen.
He begins to sway into sleep. The beer bottle
slips out of his languid grasp
and falls almost silently onto
the thick green lawn. Wayman sighs.
He feels himself float
in his hammock, and begin to drift upwards:
ascending, as he snores
into the middle class.