A Walk with Jefferson by Philip Levine

By Philip Levine

The muse for the identify poem of Philip Levine's A stroll with Tom Jefferson is now not the founding father and 3rd president of the U.S. that the majority readers could think upon listening to the identify. Levine's Tom Jefferson is sort of varied from his namesake: he's an African American residing in a destitute sector of business Detroit. yet to Levine, he's "wise, compassionate, planned, honest...a nice unknown American." In A stroll with Tom Jefferson, Philip Levine reminds us why he's most sensible identified for his poems approximately working-class existence in Detroit--and why such a lot of humans count number a Levine poem between their favorites.

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Sample text

Listen. Each word repairs the ear. He knows our story, waits all day for its predictably sad and open-ended ending, and expects nothing. So, what are we to say to an emptiness where all talk is small and echoes? What are we to say to sympathy that shines for so many confessions distilled to whispers and poured into a sober ear? Come now. What will we say when nothing is worse for its saying, the line behind us now as we bend to this lustered ear, our notes whistling through his hollow skull. Page 15 The Ride Back After a line by Rilke Before me there is no sleep as deep as the first color of evening, no bath like the red light leaching the trees to flat nothing.

The beer is warm but still Carta Blanca. Page 11 Another? Soon. Please, feed only yourself. The lame mustard-colored dog you pity with scraps cannot stand up to being murdered. It must eat in secret. Here's the wolf now, a good dog for killing the lame. Patience. His work takes only a minute, only a life. There are many dogs and so few tourists. You have come a long way to tolerate the wind at your table. You must eat before you pay and drink, yes, drink before you walk the short way back where every shell you find not crushed by waves is yours to keep.

I want to lie down in mud and sleep the succulent sleep of leaves until my eyes unfold, until I slip into wings, a white silk moth lifting in a shower of dust and light and choirs singing. Do you hear it? Something from long ago Page 13 I will never find a voice so faint and calling now I find myself, when the engine starts, slapping at my ears. Page 14 Whispering in Leo Kauf's Ear A statue of Leo Kauf, noted industrialist, sits in a town square, and each morning people wait in line to whisper in his ear.

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