Current Occupation: Professor
Former Occupation: most of life, professor; as a kid and teen worked at my dad's woodworking shop
Contact Information: born and raised in New Orleans. Now teaching at Radford University in Virginia, living with wife and daughters. Publications include GLIMMER TRAIN, TEXAS REVIEW, SOUTHERN QUARTERLY, RATTLE, TAMPA REVIEW, BERKELEY FICTION REVIEW, storySouth, XAVIER REVIEW, MISSOURI REVIEW, MISSISSIPPI REVIEW, NEW ORLEANS REVIEW, et al. Chapbooks include THE ABOMINATION OF FASCINATION and THE TRUTH CHANGES. Poetry volumes include HALLOWEEN and OMENS. I am founding editor of the now inoperative Barataria Review and Books: A New Orleans Review. I have been a contributing editor of The Pushcart Press.
The workmen outside have been at it all day
digging up the street with jack hammers,
back hoes and Deere machines I can’t name
though which, if fitted with flesh and blood,
would resemble dinosaurs, a stegosaurus maybe
and certainly T-rex. They handle the monstrous
machines deftly and with a grace I can only envy.
They’re going down deep into the street
toward the pipes, pumping out bilge and brackish
filth, a chthonian venture, linked close to hell.
The workers wear hard hats and filthy clothes;
they dig in the rain, at night the moon
coats them with luminous silt, under the blazing sun
they sweat heroically. They never seem to tire
or gripe about the arduous drone of their lives.
When I step out onto the porch, trek down the steps
and head toward my van parked on that street,
a thick book of poetry wedged between my arm and chest,
they stare briefly as I stare briefly at them.
They, of course, are the poems
not anthologized in my book, the honest poems,
not the morose, maudlin, cynical, gloomy poems
I have read all my life and passed on to students.
I steer carefully between machines, roll over
a thick hose, and edge past the detour sign.
Tomorrow, I’ve heard, the workers will move on
to another street. . They’ve finished the job here.
My book presses hard against my ribs.