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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, July 26, 2016.
About this Poem 

“‘Walk on, Walk Away’ is intended to celebrate the spirit of American laborers. The poem is from my newest manuscript, “A Righteous Union of Things,” a collection of poems exploring my own life as a veteran of fifteen years (1970-85), as a semi-skilled factory worker in my native Baltimore, and, by extension, an exploration and celebration of America’s working class culture.”
—Afaa Michael Weaver

Walk On, Walk Away

Can we just stay here in the space where our loud laughing
won’t disturb the mausoleum of St. Peter, three times denying
the purple iris, can we hobble the horses to the hitching post
in front of the post office and let everything fall out of where
we put it to be delivered, can we call the night choir of crickets
down here to make the road home sing while the lightning bugs
show us the way to a happy wages of sin so then we will not dare
cry when the trumpet hits the high note of getting up in the                       morning,
going back to be counted by the straw bosses, and to count them,
making note of how sure this Earth is, this world of work we                       define
ourselves, as long as we know it will need us, as long as guarantees
paint themselves against the invisible ley lines pulling mountains
together, summoning snow caps in California over the broad                       brown
hills laying up to hear God’s whims like fallen but contented                       angels.

Copyright © 2016 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 26, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Afaa Michael Weaver. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 26, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver

Born in 1951, Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of several collections of poetry, including Spirit Boxing (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017).

by this poet

poem

This wall is a great stairway, walls
are things that shoot up, keep out, line
the places where we mark the halls

that carry our names. The busts
of this one and that one, this history
is in the hard labor of hearts, thrusts

of piston and valve. I sit down
at the first house,

poem

 

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poem
It is the first day of the year again, this time
in the quiet absence of Portlandia, we have
our own quiet way of entering the spaces
between the seconds of life, where time fades.
 
The fire makes a noise, inside here where ice
and snow make the earth frozen, press us
to guess what weather will do now
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