under my thumb

the poem that almost ate
my brain
began as a flashing
cursor on my laptop computer
at 8 pm one night,
long after the
Government office
where I used to work,
in Washington, DC closed
for the day, and a poem

…one that I had thought about
for at least ten hours
took residence under,
my left thumb


worthless left thumb


good for shit left thumb
the thumb that has no
meaning for a right-handed
senior technical writer
the thumb that sits on
its lazy laurels all day
while the other 8 fingers
and 1 thumb (the right one) do
all of the work

that left thumb couldn’t even hitch
a ride out of Shawnee Mission,
Kansas in 1977, when sister
told you that you’d worn out your welcome

(yeah, Rightie did all the,

highway 169 work didn’t it …but
you got you a ride anyway, with those Mormons

headed for Topeka)

left thumb thinks
it’s entitled to special
because it’s connected to your left hand
damned appendage hasn’t done a decent
day’s work in its life.

b.s. I call it
let a finger do a fingers worth of work
like everyone else
call in your markers
pay a finger for a finger
forget the hand
anything less is —


make sure that you,
open the hood
jot it down carefully, then
add poetic antifreeze
before you
pull out that poem
that is eating your brain

after that
the chips fall where they may
when it’s done
nobody cares whether
your left thumb had
a hand
in it or not