With Its Own Intentions and Not Conveyed to You

From the collection published in 2015, Catch Up With Summer.

With Its Own Intentions and Not Conveyed to You

A construction site is a straightforward personality.
The building fits together
or it doesn’t. The workers
have no need to posture or politic
when they can hold nail guns or welding torches
in their hands. The work requires a lot of noise
for things to get done. It takes a steady stream of curse words mixed in with
metal on metal strikes and a lot of
unidentified banging
Give it a chance and it will soothe you as
you go about your own day
I guarantee it
someone starts up the saw
the lights flicker. The burr burr burr
and the scree ee ee
rattle your teeth and ear-bones. A day spent in a building
undergoing construction
is not a dull one. How can you listen
to someone hammering on a metal pipe with a sledgehammer
off and on
for a couple of hours
and not find something
in the very indifference of the undertaking
to you?


“Big Construction Project”, mixed media, 2005.


14 thoughts on “With Its Own Intentions and Not Conveyed to You

  1. Yes, it is painted, and really not much collage on it compared to some others, as the background was so vibrant and busy. I did this one a really long time ago and a friend bought it. Or, a person who became a friend as a result of it!

  2. Hmm,
    thought the nail
    between each hammer blow.

    Is that a stray thought,
    wandering my way
    from an inquisitive mind

    curative measures
    for a sonically induced migraine?

    You don’t know what a real headache is.

  3. evoking nostalgic of my wee-hour mornings back in Oakland waking up with cups of coffee listening to soothing rhythms of the post office behind my flat as it loaded up the postal trucks, the clanging of metal racks, the supervisor who yelled and swore worse than a sailor.

    “Big Construction Projection” captures vividly a construction site in full operation on a hot day.

  4. Thank you. I remember the sound of the garbage trucks thumping the dumpsters early in the morning behind my college dorm in the same way, the drivers shouting out the windows. At night I could hear the guards at the security station almost right under my window as they talked and listened to ball games on the radio. Coexisting with these sounds quickly becomes depending on them!

  5. !!! This poem is just genius! And I will not listen to construction again without the thought of the headache of the poor nail. I am prompted to answer with my idea of the next chapter:

    The pounding headache
    The metal on metal shock
    cranium earthquake
    prelude to eternity
    fixed mute in a straitjacket.

    I am thinking of the poor nail, squeezed in place forever. Myself, I hate being trapped or restrained or in small spaces, and it seems like nails are living my worse nightmare, if I think of it like that? I may be straying away from my determinedly optimistic viewpoint here. I’ll write another chapter that is happier – I will let this one get away:

    Hammer I defy
    all your plodding industry
    I hit ground and roll.

  6. You clearly have more zen than I possess (actually not difficult as I have almost zero zen) as being tortured by construction noise at a library of all places would deeply upset me.

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