My Latest New Favorite Poet: David Livewell

My latest new favorite poet is David Livewell. The below poem (from American Life in Poetry: Column 527) does an excellent job of writing an eloquent memoir for those individuals that so many take for granted (or ignore altogether, which turns my stomach, frankly).

I always make it a point to remember that in this world we are ALL equal, no matter our sexual orientation, race, religion, political party, or amount of money in the bank (SORRY Koch Brothers). There are many, many people who make sure that the world is a better place to live in, yet you can’t take any of their “seminars” or buy their books in the “self-help” section because they are the ones who make sure the chairs are placed, the carpet is vacuumed, and the coffee pots filled at those “seminars”.

Thank you, Mr. Livewell, for shining your poetic spotlight on the Everyday Heroes.

Custodians

Retired from other trades, they wore
Work clothes again to mop the johns
And feed the furnace loads of coal.
Their roughened faces matched the bronze

Of the school bell the nun would swing
To start the day. They limped but smiled,
Explored the secret, oldest nooks:
The steeple’s clock, dark attics piled

With inkwell desks, the caves beneath
The stage on Bingo night. The pastor
Bowed to the powers in their hands:
Fuses and fire alarms, the plaster

Smoothing a flaking wall, the keys
To countless locks. They fixed the lights
In the crawl space above the nave
And tolled the bells for funeral rites.

Maintain what dead men made. Time blurs
Their scripted names and well-waxed floors,
Those keepers winking through the years
And whistling down the corridors.

My favorite lines are these because they give the subjects an enigmatic, “Phantom of the Opera” quality that I find really cool:

“Explored the secret, oldest nooks:
The steeple’s clock, dark attics piled

With inkwell desks, the caves beneath
The stage on Bingo night. The pastor
Bowed to the powers in their hands”

The full article can be found by clicking here.

Enjoy! 😀

Jamy

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