In this Poem Presentation, the three different types of poems are going to be about finding oneself and how all of them cope with different kinds of ways they live their lives while working at different places. The three different poems are by Lynda Hull, “Night Waitress”,
Philip Levine, “What work is, and Marge Piercy, “The Secretary Chant.” These three poems are going to prove how the work system is and how the authors have to go through their work experiences or to understand what or how working is when you still have to support family.
In the poem “Night Waitress” Lynda Hull (43) talks about her past. She is reflecting of how her life was as she was a night waitress, which is the title of the poem. She starts the poem off by reflecting into the past. So she is not a waitress as she writes the poem. “Clouds drifting off my shoulder” she has a flash back to when she was a waitress. She then goes off into the poem telling the audience what her responsibility was as a waitress. “She washed the floor on hands and knees below the Black Madonna...” She is cleaning and sweeping and doing her job, while she wishes she didn’t have to do it. “Praying to her god of sorrow and vision.” She wishes to be anywhere but the floor (because she’s sweeping and cleaning) She lays out the plates and cups as she is getting ready for the customers to come in. She then states “At this hour the men all look as if they’d never had mothers” which shows she’s a night time waitress – the men are
obviously drunk, and they’re looking at her disgustingly. “They do not see me” as in they don’t see her as a person, they see her as if she’s a piece of meat, basically checking her out.
A drunken man is playing the jukebox. She says “I would not stop him if he touched me” basically saying he’s already looking at her as if she’s a piece of meat, it wouldn’t even bother her if he touched her. She then starts talking about the song she wants to sing. So as all of this is going on at work where she is waitressing, the chef is singing, the crowd at the restaurant is checking her out, she is drowned in her own thoughts and mind where she is imagining refineries, and bay. She’s sipping on coffee while she’s sightseeing (this is all in her imagination)
She then jumps the setting of the poem into her room. Her room is her safe haven where everything is in place. “I think of my room as a calm arrival— each book and lamp in its place.”
The calendar on her wall shows nothing on there. It’s just a blank white square with the date of the next day. “It’s waiting to be filled like the desire that fills jail cells” she’s basically saying the next day will bring something else upon her. Her calendar is just waiting to be filled with the next disaster which makes her either want to sit and think about her life as she stares out the window or want to get drunk “or want to try every bar down the street” Her night shift is finally over but she’s too tired to even look up or look beyond what she sees, which is men going off to work in the morning. By “frail machinery” she is basically saying how she’s like a machine. This is not the first morning, nor the first night that she feels this way.
Levine (145) is basically talking about work. He starts the poem off by saying he's standing in the employment line waiting to get hired for a job at Ford Highland Park. He says "if you can read this you know what work is although you may not do it" he's being a smart mouth and being sarcastic. He's waiting in line as it starts to rain. As it rains his eye sight gets blurry and he can't see. So from a far distance he thinks he sees his brother and he gets all excited, but
when he rubs his eyes so he can see clearly, he notices it's not his brother. Because it rained, the employment line is now closed. Meaning the factories don't need workers anymore, so the day is wasted "the sad refusal to give in to rain, to the hours…