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By Calvin Forbes

Put my glad rags in a cardboard box—

This old jiggerboo never grew mature.

Is everthing in its place except me?

Don’t be surprised; I called all day


And the only person I could reach was

The operator; and it’s a sorry day when

Nothing is coming down but your foot.

And how deep is your stomach cause


That’s how far your heart will fall!

When I’m gone I might come back cause

I’m always forgetting something special.

A crease in my overalls, my collar stiff,


I cried as many tears as I have teeth.

And I only got two in my mouth. Son of the

Sun look out: as you get black you burn.

Is everything in its place except me?


Calvin Forbes, “The Other Side of This World” from Ploughshares (1974).

Source: Ploughshares (1974)

  • Arts & Sciences
  • Living
  • Social Commentaries

Poet Bio

Calvin Forbes
Calvin Forbes teaches writing, literature, and jazz history at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago. Blues and jazz inform both the rhythm and content of his poetry. He often uses ballads to tell family stories or the ups and downs of romance. But Forbes updates the tradition with surreal techniques, epigrammatic humor, and changing voices. He described his work as “simplicity shacked up with complexity.”  See More By This Poet

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