Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books
Authors
Books
Features
Newletters and Alerts

Buy now from Random House

  • A Working Girl Can't Win
  • Written by Deborah Garrison
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780375755408
  • Our Price: $12.00
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - A Working Girl Can't Win

Buy now from Random House

  • A Working Girl Can't Win
  • Written by Deborah Garrison
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307493392
  • Our Price: $11.99
  • Quantity:
See more online stores - A Working Girl Can't Win

A Working Girl Can't Win

    Select a Format:
  • Book
  • eBook

and Other Poems

Written by Deborah GarrisonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Deborah Garrison

eBook

List Price: $11.99

eBook

On Sale: February 19, 2009
Pages: 80 | ISBN: 978-0-307-49339-2
Published by : Modern Library Random House Group
A Working Girl Can't Win Cover

Bookmark,
Share & Shelve:

  • Add This - A Working Girl Can't Win
  • Email this page - A Working Girl Can't Win
  • Print this page - A Working Girl Can't Win
ABOUT THE BOOK ABOUT THE BOOK
ABOUT THE AUTHOR ABOUT THE AUTHOR
PRAISE PRAISE
Tags for this book (powered by Library Thing)
poetry (46)
poetry (46)
Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

Deborah Garrison, whose work as an editor and writer has enlivened the pages of The New Yorker for more than a decade, evokes the characters and events of her everyday life with intense feeling and, more important, conjures up the universal dilemmas and pleasures of a young woman trying to come to terms with love and work.

Excerpt

The Firemen

God forgive me--

It's the firemen,
leaning in the firehouse garage
with their sleeves rolled up
on the hottest day of the year.

As usual, the darkest one is handsomest.
The oldest is handsomest.
The one with the thin, wiry arms is handsomest.
The young one already going bald is handsomest.

And so on.
Every day I pass them at their station:
the word sexy wouldn't do them justice.
Such idle men are divine--

especially in summer, when my hair
sticks to the back of my neck,
a dirty wind from the subway grate
blows my skirt up, and I feel vulgar,

lifting my hair, gathering it together,
tying it back while they watch
as a kind of relief.
Once, one of them walked beside me

to the corner. Looked into my eyes.
He said, "Will I never see you again?"
Gutsy, I thought.
I'm afraid not, I thought.

What I said was I'm sorry.
But how could he look into my eyes
if I didn't look equally into his?
I'm sorry: as though he'd come close, as though
this really were a near miss.



Please Fire Me

Here comes another alpha male,
and all the other alphas
are snorting and pawing,
kicking up puffs of acrid dust

while the silly little hens
clatter back and forth
on quivering claws and raise
a titter about the fuss.

Here comes another alpha male--
a man's man, a dealmaker,
holds tanks of liquor,
charms them pantsless at lunch:

I've never been sicker.
Do I have to stare into his eyes
and sympathize? If I want my job
I do. Well I think I'm through

with the working world,
through with warming eggs
and being Zenlike in my detachment
from all things Ego.

I'd like to go
somewhere else entirely,
and I don't mean
Europe.



Husband, Not at Home

A soldier, a soldier,
gone to the litigation wars,

or down to Myrtle Beach
to play golf with Dad for the weekend.

Why does the picture of him
tramping the emerald grass in those

silly shoes or flinging his tie over his shoulder
to eat a take-out dinner at his desk--

the carton a squat pagoda in the forest
of legal pads on which he drafts,

in all block caps, every other line,
his motions and replies--fill her

with obscure delight?
Must be the strangeness: his life

strange to her, and hers to him,
as she prowls the apartment with a vacuum

in boxers (his) and bra, or flings
herself across the bed

with three novels to choose from
in the delicious, sports-free

silence. Her dinner a bowl
of cereal, taken cranelike, on one

leg, hip snug to the kitchen
counter. It makes her smile to think

he'd disapprove, to think she likes him
almost best this way: away.

She'll let the cat jump up
to lap the extra milk, and no one's
home to scold her.



Worked Late on a Tuesday Night

Again.
Midtown is blasted out and silent,
drained of the crowd and its doggy day
I trample the scraps of deli lunches
some ate outdoors as they stared dumbly
or hooted at us career girls-the haggard
beauties, the vivid can-dos, open raincoats aflap
in the March wind as we crossed to and fro
in front of the Public Library.

Never thought you'd be one of them,
did you, little lady?
Little Miss Phi Beta Kappa,
with your closetful of pleated
skirts, twenty-nine till death do us
part! Don't you see?
The good schoolgirl turns thirty,
forty, singing the song of time management
all day long, lugging the briefcase
home. So at 10:00 PM
you're standing here
with your hand in the air,

cold but too stubborn to reach
into your pocket for a glove, cursing
the freezing rain as though it were
your difficulty. It's pathetic,
and nobody's fault but
your own. Now

the tears,
down into the collar.
Cabs, cabs, but none for hire.
I haven't had dinner; I'm not half
of what I meant to be.
Among other things, the mother
of three. Too tired, tonight,
to seduce the father.
Deborah Garrison

About Deborah Garrison

Deborah Garrison - A Working Girl Can't Win
Deborah Garrison is the author of A Working Girl Can’t Win: and Other Poems. For fifteen years, she worked on the editorial staff of The New Yorker and is now the poetry editor af Alfred A. Knopf and a senior editor at Pantheon Books. She lives with her husband and three children in Montclair, New Jersey.
Praise

Praise

"An intense, intelligent and wonderfully sly book of poems that should appeal as much to the general reader as to the poetry devotee."
--The New York Times Book Review

"With their short lines, sneaky rhymes, and casual leaps of metaphor, Garrison's poems have a Dickinsonian intensity, and the Amherst
recluse's air of independent-minded, lightly populated singleness. Many a working girl will recognize herself in the poems' running
heroine, and male readers will part with her company reluctantly."--John Updike

"Wry, sexy, appealing -- with a wonderful lyric candor."--Elle

Your E-Mail Address
send me a copy

Recipient's E-Mail Address
(multiple addresses may be separated by commas)

A personal message: