We worked for food and shelter
and then bought the arts and better cars,
bigger houses, smarter children
who couldn’t really learn to read and write.
It was too hard. The arts escaped
to a different heaven to get rid of us.
We misunderstood food and shelter,
flies crawling on a window,
fluttering up and down,
seeing the outside beyond reach
because of the invention of glass
that couldn’t be undone. We lived
within the outside for two million years
and now it’s mostly photos.
We chose wallpaper and paint over leaves
and rivers. In our dream of safety
we decided not to know the world.

—from “Modern Times” by Jim Harrison

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Atlanta, GA. He is the co-author (with Daniel Couch) of Bob Mould's Workbook (Bloomsbury, 2017). His work has been published in The Quarterly Conversation,, Bookslut (RIP), The Comics Journal, The Baseball Chronicle, and other periodicals. Twitter: @walter_biggins.
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2 Responses to Commonplace

  1. brian says:

    Three months since the publication and I still haven’t gotten my copy yet, but I’m sure Jimmy would forgive me. Harrison really being the only poetry which I read on a somewhat regular basis– that being about a dozen times a year.

  2. Walter says:

    I took a chance on it, having liked his collaboration with Ted Kooser a few years back. So far, Saving Daylight is very good, though Jim tends to ramble from subject to subject. Then again, he does that in prose, too.

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