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Cadillacs

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Devout as priests, far enough
from their youth to bemoan
the changing times,
these working men --
sons of Sisyphus -- toil
in the purgatory of
Monday through Friday, men
hard as gravel, shredded and torn,
fingers gone, stripped like old bolts.

Men like my father, who talked
about Some Day, as if

it were an actual date
like Christmas or the 4th of July.

 

Some day, he'd say,

when I save enough money
I'm gonna tell 'em
where they can shove it. Fuck 'em.
Thirty-five years for a watch
and hip surgery.

 

I see these men at night in diners
and bars, hunched and quiet, faces
cracked, bloodless, unused to sun
or smiles, read the papers,
playing numbers. Men broken
by the promises of a good, hard
day, promises made by men
without mortgages or used cars,
men with soft hands.

After last call they wander
the car dealers with heavy feet
and lovesick eyes,
groping the Cadillacs
they will never buy.

 

-- Jason Irwin

 

Jason Irwin lives in Squirrel Hill with his wife, Wendi Lee. This poem is included in his first book, Watering the Dead, which won the 2006/2007 Transcontinental Award, and is available from Pavement Saw Press.

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