Dole Queue

Michael Hulse

          Tom Paine at one time made

ladies' corset. And why not? I too had

    a job once, I remember, on

             an assembly line.


         Seems a long time ago.

Every fucking Monday I stand here , grow

     grey-faced, slack; I slouch. What do I

             care about the law,


        ain't got the power? said

Cornelius Vanderbilt. Went to bed

      last night, the wife says, common sense

             doesn't stand a chance


        when you're up against profit,

I says to her, you don't want to say that

     too loud, can we have  the light off

             now? It's a rip off,


        she says, the whole caper.

See what it said today in the paper?

      Go to sleep, Glad, I says. Tom Paine,

              refused a seat on


           the stagecoach, was told by

the passengers to fear the Lord's wrath. I

       wonder at times what has become

               of justice if some


        can buy their own. I won't

pretend to understand the world. I don't.

    One night we sat and watched the stars,

             listened to the cars


         on the carriageway back

of our house. The stars were bright, the night black.

     Why, says Glad, are we landed with

              a life before death?