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Joanne the Poet - The Poetry of Joanne M. Clarkson

“Jailow” in Common Ground Review

My poem “Jailow” is in the Fall/Winter 19.2 issue of Common Ground Review published by Western New England University in Springfield, MA. It is based on a memory from childhood. My father, who grew up in extreme poverty in West Virginia, was drafted into World War II. During the war he learned to be a meat cutter and continued this profession after he was discharged. But he hated cutting meat and when I was about 4 years old he came home one day and told my mom he had quit his job and was going to build houses. He had always enjoyed carpentry, but he learned the skills needed for home construction by hiring experienced carpenters at the Union Hall. One of the first was a man named Walt Jailow. Jailow was a whiz with hammer and nails but he had a severe drinking problem. The poem is based on my recollections of the few months this man was in our lives.

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