A Walk with Jefferson by Philip Levine

By Philip Levine

The foundation for the name poem of Philip Levine's A stroll with Tom Jefferson is no longer 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 various from his namesake: he's an African American dwelling in a destitute quarter of commercial 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 top recognized 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

Wife, when you breathe the world fills up. Let’s go into the woods. I’ll listen To your lungs take in red leaves. Snow Goose bumps And the call of the freight train Migrating south. Let’s lie here for a while So still That everyone will take us for rocks. The New Arm We all have A new arm Growing outward From the shoulder Filled with bullets. It is leading us Into continents Where the people Are disguised as colored maps. We will sink Arm first To the bottom of liquid countries. Many years from now Some of us Will surface in Asia As white roots Between cows’ teeth, And some of us Will appear near our homes With heavy arms we can’t lift, Making noises On the wooden siding.

Dirt Road A feather plucked out and tossed away By an old bird. Shells of bugs Whose names I don’t know Crunch No matter where I put my feet. After walking hard all summer A goose voice Tells me I’ve caught up with autumn. Woods Night Primitive man Tied to a stake No leg Breaking free He is surrounded Axe blows Pine trees He drifts Overturned, past island After island Past midnight Near my shore I am still awake Listening Toward the lake The last thing I want to hear before going to sleep Is that man Splashing ashore.

When things happen here There is no urge to put them on tv. The Rain Puts Out the Burning Autumn Grass Quietly as smoke The bare plum trees Cover the hill. If You Bite a Wood Tick in Two with Your Teeth It Can Give You Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever On cloudy autumn days I miss The weight on my skin Of sunshine And wood ticks Thinking that what I hear at night Is the noise of geese Could be Dogs barking People hollering Or the dirt road Finally making a sound. Usually an Old Female Is the Leader Autumn has a mother.

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