Tuesday, November 12, 2013

poem of the day 11.12.13


she says can you help me
but i’m not so sure i can or want to

because she’s in here every day
same gray hooded sweatshirt

takes up the same computer
and spends the morning filling out
application after application

she can’t use a computer too well

she gets the applications all wrong
and has to do the simplest things all over again

some days i feel bad for her

she has to be in her sixties
she should be thinking about retirement

she should already be retired
instead of applying at burger king and key food

but america keeps taking retirement from people
like they’re taking taxes for the right to die in peace

america keeps spitting people out
just to spit them out again
like this is some kind of  joke

only most days i don’t feel bad for her
because this endless economic slog isn’t my fault

because i’ve been unemployed a number of times
and have always managed to bounce back
without anyone’s help

typically i feel burdened by her presence
and the defeat that seems to emanate
from every pore in her body

afraid to let my fingers touch her keyboard
because i worry that i might one day
become inflicted with the same stench
of aging and dread that she has

my old and useless self
applying for jobs at chain hardware stores
or a subway sandwich shop

and to be honest i can’t hide my contempt
when she calls me to come over

to help her plug in her hired and fired dates
on jobs that are older than me

only she has to be gracious because
i’m decades younger and have a professional job

the answers to the questions she’s asking
the gateway to her self-improvement and self-worth

and when she tells me that she only has
a printed copy of her resume
instead of one on a flash drive or even a floppy disk

i want to hit the roof
because she’s wasted a good portion of my morning

my coffee time
my social networking time
my newspaper time
my pension collecting hours

only she puts her head in her hands
and starts to cry right there in front of everyone

quiet yet ceaseless

while i lord over her with my keys in my hand
a sample flash drive between my thumb and forefinger
like a switchblade

as stock still as a mannequin
counting the seconds between her tears

waiting ever so patiently
for my empathy to rise like the sun
for the two of us to begin this morning

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