1) today's Zoom Church readings were from 2 Chronicles 34:8-12, 14-19 about repairing the house of the Lord and "On Houses" by Kahlil Gibran
2) A Plumber's Guide to Light is all about the building trades (and so much more!)
3) one of the workers in the book is actually named Antonio, like my actual husband, who is a carpenter with electrician and plumber skills, too, as well as being a visual artist, the way Jesse Bertron is a laborer as well as a poet!
I've heard the refrain "Good enough for government work," from the poem "Slop," repeated by members of the extended family. And I give you these great lines from "Slop" (in addition to the ones about shoddy work on a toilet that mean "when the wax ring goes, // a little water mixed with human shit will leak onto the floor / with every flush"):
Never buy a house built on a Friday, is something Jacob said
on a Friday, as he walked away from a bad solder.
The human race: built on a Friday!
That's what Genesis says--a book of the Bible that I love,
starring as it does an expert working at a speed
that may invite disaster.
See what I mean? Perfect for a Sunday. And also a perfect blend of humor, reality of the working world, and religious philosophy.
I connect with the actual labor, having helped my husband lift and move heavy things (scary on the stairs), sand hardwood floors, grout bathroom tile, and paint porches. "Antonio loves to work..." begins a line from the poem "Orientation," but when I told my husband he should read this book, he said, "I don't like plumbing much." (He's working on a bathroom right now.)
So! I love this book! I leave you with two central stanzas from "There Was No Assignment but There Will Be a Test":
It has been a hard year, so I want to tell my neighbor's kid
that the most important part of a story
is someone you love will ask for what they need
and you'll fail them in a way you have prepared for all your life.
The only way you'll see out of the cell
of your regret will be
to hold the splintered thread of the everyday
as if it were spun gold.
(See spun gold electrical wire above. Plus a toilet wax ring. Sigh....)