Bob Hicok

After working 60 hours again for what reason

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The author that created this work

Bob Hicok was born in Michigan, way back in 1960. Before he became a poet, he worked many years in the automotive dye industry, which was one of the inspirations behind the writing of this specific poem. His poems mainly have an accessible, meditative style. His poems are a combination of funny, witty, silly, and even sad. This poem, "After working 60 hours again for what reason" is considered to be a sad poem of his, written back in 2004.


Source

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The poem


The best job I had was moving a stone

from one side of the road to the other.

This required a permit which required

a bribe. The bribe took all my salary.

Yet because I hadn’t finished the job

I had no salary, and to pay the bribe

I took a job moving the stone

the other way. Because the official

wanted his bribe, he gave me a permit

for the second job. When I pointed out

that the work would be best completed

if I did nothing, he complimented

my brain and wrote a letter

to my employer suggesting promotion

on stationery bearing the wings

of a raptor spread in flight

over a mountain smaller than the bird.

My boss, fearing my intelligence,

paid me to sleep on the sofa

and take lunch with the official

who required a bribe to keep anything

from being done. When I told my parents,

they wrote my brother to come home

from university to be slapped

on the back of the head. Dutifully,

he arrived and bowed to receive

his instruction, at which point

sense entered his body and he asked

what I could do by way of a job.

I pointed out there were stones

everywhere trying not to move,

all it took was a little gumption

to be the man who didn’t move them.

It was harder to explain the intricacies

of not obtaining a permit to not

do this. Just yesterday he got up

at dawn and shaved, as if the lack

of hair on his face has anything

to do with the appearance of food

on an empty table.




While this poem may not be a long one, "After working 60 hours again for what reason" definitely packs a punch in its lines. The story of a man trying to make money by moving stones, and in the process becoming more and more intelligent is definitely one you won't forget anytime soon. The poem reflects on the past, when slavery was still common in the U.S. Some of the powerful lines from this poem include, but are not limited too; "When I pointed out that the work would be best completed if I did nothing, he complimented my brain and wrote a letter to my employer suggesting promotion." and; "The best job I had was moving a stone from one side of the road to the other". All of these lines suggest that the time was at least 1960s or further back, as slavery was still common in that time.


In my own words, what I believe is happening in this poem is that the main character is working to make a living, or is a slave He is moves stones for a living, and is not making any money doing it, as the bribe is taking all of his salary, so in order to try and get money, he tries getting a second job from his official, which is his master, to move the stone the other way. He agrees, and when the main guy supposedly outsmarts the official, he gets promoted, and starts to become more and more intelligent, which his boss is now starting to fear


Overall, this poem has a very deep meaning to it that will keep bringing amazement to readers for decades to come.

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Sam Straub After Working Sixty Hours Again For What Reason