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Richard Hoffman: Summer Job

“The trouble with intellectuals,” Manny, my boss,

once told me, “is that they don’t know nothing

till they can explain it to themselves. A guy like that,”

he said, “he gets to middle-age — and by the way,

he gets there late; he’s trying to be a boy until

he’s forty, forty-five, and then you give him five

more years until that craziness peters out, and now

he’s almost fifty — a guy like that at last explains

to himself that life is made of time, that time

is what it’s all about. Aha! he says. And then

he either blows his brains out, gets religion,

or settles down to some major-league depression.

Make yourself useful. Hand me that three-eighths

torque wrench — no, you moron, the other one.”


Copyright 2007 Richard Hoffman. From Gold Star Road (Barrow Street Press 2007)

Richard Hoffman‘s many books include a memoir Love & Fury (Beacon 2014) and a collection of poems Noon until Night (Barrow Street 2017).

3/8 torque wrench (photo: Amazon)

4 comments on “Richard Hoffman: Summer Job

  1. robertahatcher32
    February 18, 2022

    Ha! Love this poem! The voice, the listener, the perfect twist at the end.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Deborah DeNicola
    February 17, 2022

    Wow, great poem. I love the way it moves and surprises, all in subtle ordinary language.

    Liked by 1 person

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