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Stanley’s Girl: Poems

Stanley’s Girl: Poems

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Stanley’s Girl: Poems

80 Seiten
30 Minuten
15. Mai 2018


The fiercely lyrical poetry of Stanley’s Girl is rooted in Susan Eisenberg’s experience as one of the first women to enter the construction industry and from her decades gathering accounts of others to give scaffolding to that history. Eisenberg charts her own induction into the construction workplace culture and how tradeswomen from across the country grappled with what was required to become a team player and succeed in a dangerous workplace where women were unwelcome. The specifics of construction become metaphor as she explores resonances in other spheres—from family to other social and political issues—where violence, or its threat, maintains order. Prying open memory, her poems investigate how systems of discrimination, domination, and exclusion are maintained and how individuals and institutions accommodate to injustice and its agreed-on lies, including her own collusion. Poems in this collection probe workplace-linked suicide, sexual assault, and sometimes-fatal intentional accidents, as well as the role of bystander silence and the responsibility of witness.

15. Mai 2018

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Stanley’s Girl - Susan Eisenberg


First Week Apprentice

I can’t recall that journeyman’s name,

just his gentle, rutted face

and three bits of wisdom.

About working off staging:

Watch out you don’t take a Dixie.

About the huddle of tradesmen

who stopped work

to stare: Ignore them.

About villages in Korea entered

a quarter-century past, and so many nights since

in his dreams: You had to kill everyone.

Every one. Or kids, when they grew,

would avenge the deaths. Then—

the first girl in workboots and hardhat,

an apparition that called him to confession—

That’s why they draft

boys too young to think.


Everything you thought you knew

must be relearned overnight.

How to walk.

Walk, not trip, over cords, 2x4s,

used coffee cups, concrete cores.

Walk, 40 pounds on your shoulder, across

rebar or a wood plank; glide,

not wobble, not look like the bounce

beneath each bootstep scares you.

How to dress yourself

to work outdoors all day midwinter

and keep warm, keep working, fingers moving;

or midsummer, with no hint of breasts.

How to climb ladders—

not a stepstool or 4-footer—

ladders that stretch up two stories

where someone’s impatient

for that bundle of pipe.

How to get coffee—

hot and how they like it—to a crew

spread out 10 floors; to carry muffins

three blocks in a paper sack

through sheets of rain.

How to look.

To never go back empty-handed

when you’re told, Grab me a This/That

from the gangbox, if all you’ve done

is move things around, poke here and there;

if you haven’t emptied out the full contents

so the journeyman won’t shame you

by finding that This/That in a quick minute,

after you’ve said, We don’t have any.

How to be dependable

but not predictable-provokable.

Not the lunch break entertainment.

How to read


delivery orders,

the mood on the job;

how long it’s okay to sit down for coffee;

how early you can start rolling up cords.

How to do well in school

from the back row

of a seats-assigned-Jim-Crow classroom.

How to learn tricks-of-the-trade

from someone who does not like you.

How to listen, to act-don’t-ask.

To duck when someone motions, Duck!

Or when someone tells you, Don’t talk to Zeke,

to know what they mean

so you don’t even look

at Zeke, the ironworker who’s always first out,

last in, standing there, so four times a day—

start, lunch, quit—all the workers walk past him,

like a sandbar, waves washing back and forth,

that catches debris.

How to pick up the phone and

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