Willy Loman: A Catalog Poem

Over at Tweetspeakpoetry.com the discussion surrounds a technique called cataloging. Here’s my attempt with a little inspiration from Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. Enjoy and share your thoughts if you have time.

Willy Loman

by Joel E. Jacobson

I went on a date with America
and she slipped a pill into my beer.
As I faded like a bad TV show,
she told me that success was in the pudding,
that I would be a man if I had millions,
and millions would admire me
for being the embodiment of her dream.
My boys would respect me
and my wife would be interesting
and I would see me and know me and be me,
standing above the rabblement.
I awoke to find her picking up
shredded economic forecasts,
stock reports, and quarterly earnings,
weaving them into a noose.


7 thoughts on “Willy Loman: A Catalog Poem

  1. I like this exploration. It’s a subtle use of cataloging (“that/that” “millions/millions” “My/my” “me/me/me”)

    Really nice.

  2. This Sunday instead of a sermon, I am performing a dramatic monologue from Death of a Salesman for my congregation. I’d like to close the service with your poem, with attribution of course. I’d be glad also to send a modest royalty.

    Rev. Dr. Matt Tittle
    Paramus, NJ

  3. I would be honored if you used my poem. Thank you so much. While I never expect or ask for payment, I will gladly accept whatever gift you’re willing to offer. The easiest way is probably Paypal, which can be sent to jejacobson at comcast dot net (trying to avoid spam bots here!!). Again thank you for reading, and I’d enjoy hearing your congregation’s response to the whole experience.

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