Fall/Winter 2016



Nathan Brown

HARD LABOR

He couldn’t stand
that little guy, Hermey,
who wanted to be a dentist,
     whined about it all the time,
     even ran away once, the idiot.
     Almost got himself annihilated
     by an abominable snowmonster.

But he didn’t like elf-work either.
Your whole life assembling toys
for all the good boys and girls
of the world, except your own.

And face it, the Big Man doesn’t
bother to check the list anymore
since namby-pamby parents
just go out to Toys R Us
and buy the cheap shit
made in China for all
their bad boys and girls,
sticking it store-wrapped
under the Christmas tree
made of PVCs, and lead,
in the same Chinese factories
and then lying to the children’s
spoiled rotten little faces: No…
…Santa brought it last night!

The hell he did, he mutters
under his frozen breath
and over his cold toast
here on the gray morning
of December 26, their only
day off every damned year.

Then, he only thinks it,
because he’s too afraid
to even whisper it,

No need
to tell me, brother,
about sweat shops.

 


Nathan Brown holds a PhD in English and Journalism from the University of Oklahoma where he taught for seventeen years. He served as Poet Laureate for the State of Oklahoma in 2013/14 and mostly travels now, performing readings and concerts, as well as speaking and leading workshops in schools, libraries, and community organizations on creativity and creative writing. Nathan has published thirteen books. Most recent is Donít Try, a collection of co-written poems with Austin Music Hall of Fame songwriter, Jon Dee Graham. Karma Crisis: New and Selected Poems, was a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and the Oklahoma Book Award. His earlier book, Two Tables Over, won the 2009 Oklahoma Book Award.

 


 

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