sunday bear: tony hoagland

“Dempster” by Steve Schutt (antique mohair, black shoe button eyes, hand puppet made by Jama, 1987)



The Loneliest Job in the World
by Tony Hoagland

As soon as you begin to ask the question, Who loves me?
you are completely screwed, because
the next question is How Much?

and then it is hundreds of hours later,
and you are still hunched over
your flowcharts and abacus,

trying to decide if you have gotten enough.
This is the loneliest job in the world:
to be an accountant of the heart.

It is late at night. You are by yourself,
and all around you, you can hear
the sounds of people moving

in and out of love,
pushing the turnstiles, putting
their coins in the slots,

paying the price which is asked,
which constantly changes.
No one knows why.

~ from Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty (Greywolf Press, 2010)


♥ This week’s Sunday Bear Hug is brought to you as always by Mr. Cornelius, who is busy counting his change. There can never be too much love in this world, he says, or hugs. Hug at least five people today, or the same person five times.



Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

10 thoughts on “sunday bear: tony hoagland

  1. Jama, Sometimes I am in awe of the way poets approach their topic. This is so lovely, but sad too. I suspect there are many, and in my life especially young teens, who are busy being ‘accountants’ of the heart. Happy Sunday to you, too!


    1. I share your awe, Linda. The all-too-recognizable truth really hits home, doesn’t it? Hope you had a nice weekend.


  2. Hi Jama- Wonderful, insightful poem! It is deceptively light… But, of course, I came for the teddy with the teddy hand puppet and stayed for the poem 😉


    1. The casual, conversational tone belies the serious subject matter.

      Dempster said to tell you he likes you. 🙂


  3. I like that phrase ‘accountant of the heart.’ When all that needs to be done, really, is to just be. And just love. Happy Sunday! Oh yeah, I am unable to see the photo of your Sunday bear. 😦


    1. Oh no! Why is Dempster hiding from you? Hope it’s only a temporary glitch.

      Hope your Sunday was lovely, Myra.


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