Fall 2008, Volume 5

Poetry by Rich Murphy

Ladder Company

"He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it."


Everyone works at the ladder factory,
even the amateur on his belly
studying the behavior of insects.
Readers build and climb ladders

to follow writers who have pulled
their ladders into the lofts
as though they would be used again.
If needed writers compose further

ladder rounds into the rafters and those
are dropped from great platitudes
into abysses. Readers also pull the ladders
after themselves. So each worker

in the company of others is on his own,
so to speak. Some monkey men
don't ever come down, and readers and writers
are often the same people. No one

uses these tools to rescue a cat or paint
a home or lay siege to a fortress.
The climbers clamber rung by rung
to plant feet above a collective unconscious.

BIO:  "Credits include a book of poems The Apple in the Monkey Tree by Codhill Press summer 2008; chapbooks Great Grandfather in 2007 by Pudding House Publications, Family Secret by Finishing Line Press, and Hunting and Pecking due out in summer 2008 by Ahadada Press; poems in Rolling Stone, Poetry, Grand Street, The London Magazine, New Letters, Negative Capability, Segue, Solo Flyer, foam:e, and Confrontation; and essays in Fulcrum, The International Journal of the Humanities, Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning, Reconfigurations: A Journal for Poetics Poetry / Literature and Culture, Fringe, and up-coming in Big Toe Review and Contemporary Poetry and Crisis anthology. I teach writing at VCU."