November woods rebound with a quiet ease, fathers
and sons dress and cuff those draped, pointed bucks

Shoulders that first learned to be lean turning rivets
and sockets can shoulder the kick from a long gun

On the break room wall is an art deco colliery print:
swarthy stacks, helmet, pick axe backed in amber

In the midtown museum the great four walled mural
features men such as these: shift clockers

They hear the whistle; the time card clicks; they wait
on a buck; they know their work.

The torrent in the blood, that lacquer of sweat, the sting
of liquor, that ache in the back, it cannot last.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Note: This poem appeared (alongside “Don’t Walk”) in Morel Magazine in January 2017. To explore Morel you can go here:


Don’t Walk

Don’t Walk

We drink from lidless cups on our break the pavement wet from the rain

Three cigarettes for him in fifteen minutes but I simply take coffee
reminded of all of the reasons this beverage is bad for me he doesn’t care at all not about the hacking cough
that makes his barrel chest bellow
not about the fact he started when he was eight

Who says we’re gonna live long lives? Who says but my doctor I gotta quit? Think I’m going to be doing this shit to the grave? He laughs, yeah, I do

From where we’re standing I see London Place that old crone in the clouds
there’s an office up there where they hold my mortgage its blue glass dripping a dismal grey not me, I say
and look at three men
old, older, oldest leaning against the loading dock door

They’re like a covey, a set of marks
on the corner the sign says Don’t Walk.

Jeremy Nathan Marks

Note: This poem appeared in Morel Magazine in January 2017.