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Sunday, July 25, 2010


by Jen Hinton

Harvey Pekar: 10/8/39 - 7/12/10 

The file clerk at the VA hospital didn’t
lower his head and disappear as expected
of the "Small People" in the lesser paygrades.
He knew that Supermen and Wonder Women
rose at 3 a.m. and took desolate
public transportation, thinking about
the wrong turns in life. He raised his head
and saw the poetry and courage
in those who put plastic bags inside
their wintertime boots to stop the leaking.
Overnight cleaning people, unionized bus drivers, intellectuals
sang melancholy jazz standards, played the bebop of their lives
– this was before they became the Enemy.
Those Ripoff Chicks, B.S. politicians, sell-out hippies
annoyed him to his fillings; and the little old ladies
in grocery store lines fiddling through scores of coupons,
haggling over 10-cent discounts making the line take all day
made him rage – the absurdity in how we rage about
our cumbersome daily errands, our friends and coworkers,
and how in our worst dreams
we have nowhere to go, no one expecting us.

The file clerk at the VA hospital, Harvey Pekar,
didn’t lower his head and disappear
as expected of those in the lesser paygrades.
If we respect and accept our lives,
wherever we might reside,
we can even change the Earth’s rotation.

Jen Hinton lives in Schaumburg, IL and has participated in performance poetry and literary readings in the Chicago area. She has three previously published poems in The NewVerseNews and is working on a collection of poetry and short stories.