Vox Populi

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Michael Simms: Hands

for Nicholas


Every man who works with his hands

Has seen that look. Maybe we showed up

To patch the roof, service the furnace,

Or unclog the sewer, and the pasty

Bank manager expounds his idiotic theory

Of what should be done. His wife

With her $200 haircut points her

Manicured finger at the wet place

On the ceiling. We do the work

And stand there, not knowing what to do

With our hands as she makes out the check

Complaining of the cost. As we explain

What was involved, she looks at us

As if we were just released from prison,

Correct in her questions, rude

In her attitude. Her husband brags

How he could’ve done the work

But doesn’t have time these days

Busy with clients, blah blah blah.

They despise us because they depend on us.

How long will they survive in the coming collapse

Of their roofs, their pink bathrooms 

Filling with shit, their Wedgwood china

Traded for scraps of food.

After they’ve burned the last stick

Of furniture in the fireplace 

They’ll flee their useless homes,  

Beg to join us beside the fire,

Greedily devour our rabbit meat,

The bowl of weeds our wives gathered,

Admire our hairy large-knuckled hands,

And tremble as we howl with the dogs at the moon.

Copyright 2019 Michael Simms

9 comments on “Michael Simms: Hands

  1. John Tieman
    September 22, 2019

    Thank you, Michael. There are a lot of folks I plan to send this poem to.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Gospel Isosceles
    September 22, 2019

    My carpenter-husband and I both appreciate this poem. Thank you, Michael, and you too, Nicholas!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. melpacker
    September 22, 2019

    Very nice. Angry yet with hidden compassion and visible, well deserved pride. The accompanying photograph, while often overused and even sometimes mundane, glorified and honored the poem in this case. Thanks, Michael.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      September 22, 2019

      Thanks, Mel. The poem is dedicated to my son who’s a carpenter. He said he loves the poem.


  4. Daniela Buccilli
    September 22, 2019

    Thank you for this poem. Al likes it a lot. Will be sending to friend Brian.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Vox Populi
      September 22, 2019

      Thanks, Daniela. The poem is dedicated to my son Nicholas who is a carpenter with a successful contracting business. He has a college degree in business, but likes the hands-on work of renovation. He and I have had a number of conversations about the fact that craftsmen are not respected in America.


    • Jason Irwin
      September 22, 2019

      dang good poem!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Vox Populi
        September 22, 2019

        Thanks, Jason. In the post-apocalyptic world, poets and carpenters will rule.

        Liked by 1 person

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