Work is not love. It does not waltz
or swing to the rhythm of blood.
It does not probe for signs beneath
the skin. It does not conjure metaphors
out of an ice cream or a bouquet
of roses walking down the street
or make promises it cannot keep.
It does not sweat through the night
to make things last but sees them
through to their necessary ends.
Work is not pious. It does not cross
its chest or raise its hands or kneel
to offer incense or a cup of tea.
It does not jerk the leash of flesh
and blood or collar the soul’s throat.
It has no stomach for loyalty.
It is not communal like ten-course
dinners, faith-healing meetings
or mahjong in void-deck funerals.
It forms a team to build a house.
Work is not art. It cannot entertain
or legislate. It cannot pay epiphanies
or transmogrification of the mongrel;
to work, a dog is a dog is a dog.
It cannot imagine "What If" but
creates "What Is." It cannot be pop
or classical or modern; it cannot be
but here. It cannot tilt at windmills
but marches in a definite direction
and shovels earth for pipes and people.