I gain in speed and confidence.

Ted Kooser is the current Poet Laurete. I wrote about his book “Local Wonders” a while back – but this poem of his both cracks me up and stops me in my tracks:

They had torn off my face at the office.
They had torn off my face at the office.
The night that I finally noticed
that it was not growing back, I decided
to slit my wrists. Nothing ran out;
I was empty. Both of my hands fell off
shortly thereafter. Now at my job
they allow me to type with the stumps.
It pleases them to have helped me,
and I gain in speed and confidence.

I first saw it a while back on Poetry Daily.

2 Responses to “I gain in speed and confidence.”

  1. jcostello Says:

    nicco you need to get of dc

  2. Anne Says:

    isn’t it amazing how capable he is? i think he may be more skillful than either pinsky or collins (gasp!), both at writing and at grounding the writing of others. i’ve enjoyed going back to ‘american life in poetry’ — i think that’s it, .com, the online site for his newspaper column introducing short poems about america. but this poem, too, i have to say, sticks with me more than others of his.

    you like poems about work. you work a lot. makes sense. and poems about what work takes out of you. i think it’s the ‘i gain in speed and confidence’ line that haunts, or rather, possesses — because it’s like something has taken possession, when you hear a worker so identified with their oppressive environment that they parrot what damages them.

    i may start writing again – am rejoining my workshop as of april. seems like the right time, again. as soon as i unpack and get rid of this most recent set of tearing turmoils, i’ll try.

    be well, you superb human!

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