Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Why I Don’t Work Construction

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, June 11, 2017

Why I Don’t Work Construction

by Aaron Rudolph

“You’re a big guy. You should be working construction.”

– a woman in line at Kmart

Every time I swung a sledgehammer,
shattered the faces of bricks,
the poems would stammer
like aces from my sleeves, failed tricks.

I’d bend down, pick up debris,
expose a crack, pants too low, a cliché
run down by sitcoms. Two or three
times between tasks, I’d recite Millay.

My résumé lacks the body strength and grace
required for lifting but includes a photo
of me as the Cowardly Lion, my Halloween face
pampered in yellow and blush, lips pursing for a solo.

I’d nod my head at the big talk during break.
Our poems recited through groans, a half hour
of recovering, carefully soothing each ache
with slow hands. Each worker, a weathered flower.




Aaron Rudolph teaches on the adjunct faculty at Luna Community College and New Mexico Highlands University. His latest book, “The Sombrero Galaxy,” is “is a book about honor: honor of family, honor of place, honor of food, honor of friendship, and the honor of work.”

He authored the collection Sacred Things (Bridge Burner’s Publishing, 2002) and has poems in the anthologies Two Southwests (Visual Arts Collective, 2008) and Ain’t Nobody That Can Sing Like Me (Mongrel Empire Press, 2010). His Twitter presence is: @RudyNewz

He earned a B.A. from New Mexico Highlands University, where he took his first poetry class. He then studied creative writing at Minnesota State University, Mankato (MFA) and Texas Tech University (Ph.D.) He teaches on the adjunct faculty at Luna Community College and New Mexico Highlands University.

Originally published in Iron Horse Literary Review’s Alumni Issue (11.3), 2009.

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