“The Dreaded Interview” -Reading from Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common

 

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The Dreaded Interview

 

I see that you are wearing new shoes.

Did you buy them just for this interview?

Did you think you were going to get a job here?

Well then, you may have come to the right place.

Sit down, sit down.

 

Where is your paperwork?

Ah, here it is. I have it after all.

Seems to be a little missing.

Seems to be a little empty.

Have you conquered any challenges lately? No?

 

You don’t have to fidget while sitting there.

That chair will hold you just fine.

Would you like something to chew on?

I am going to smoke, do you mind if I smoke?

Would you like a smoke? Not yet, ok.

 

How long have you been standing outside?

How long did it take you to get here?

Are you looking for a job?

What job do you feel you are best qualified for?

Oh yes, the only job we have available.

 

There is no real job here.

Only a mundane task in a sense.

Can you hold my sweater?

Good, glad you could do that at least.

Says here you have worked in dungeons before.

 

We have a dungeon here too.

Look around, you are so lucky.

There were thousands of applicants.

We picked yours at random.

Can we count on you?

 

Don’t worry about a thing on your first day.

When can you start? Tomorrow?

You’ll start tomorrow.

But I don’t know what you’ll be doing exactly.

Do you? Well…do you?

 

That is why you are here!

You must help us figure out what we are hiring for.

The dust eats at everyone who works here.

The halls echo too, you must watch out for that.

When can you start? Tomorrow?

 

We have spent a long time.

Looking for a proper candidate.

How long? Days.

But we haven’t hired in quite a number of years.

What is the job exactly? We don’t know yet.

 

I am glad you drank your water so quickly.

I am glad you came at the correct time.

I am glad you wore those nice new shoes.

You are hired but the halls still echo, remember that.

Our time here is complete.

 

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She Handles the Propane

 

With so many years before us yet so little time, she grabs me, commands my attention. With her words and her eyes, she makes me stand still.

“I had a weird dream last night,” she’ll say with as much expectation for a response as I waiting for the dream. Pausing for dramatic acknowledgement, and allowing her thoughts to catch up, she fills in the gaps, her account gushes with stunning imagery. The resulting tale is always hard to distinguish between the real and the manufactured. Still, I remain enthralled by the outcome, the clairvoyance, the show.

She will cook, without meanness, without the sense of repayable duty, no malice, no hardship. Exotic smells will waft from the back door, before I even open, before I’ve had a chance to turn the key and announce. I can feel a sense of home with the new smell, the calming vibration of a home cooked meal between my teeth, warming my belly. I’ve never smelled this before or knew that I was hungry for whatever it could be. My brow sweats in reaction to something foreign and unbland, a staple in her parents’ homeland. I can feel her eyes burn my right cheek, seeing how fast I gobble, observing whether I go for seconds or no. Ever eager to please, she will offer them to me but not serve them herself, and I will want.

She could chop wood as good as any man, get the job done, and talk about how fun it was. Gnats would sip on her tiny sweat and she’d be onto the next task. With her company, I could survive the zombie apocalypse, no problem. She could kill a man without remorse, providing he had it coming.

The ability to bear any burden without such laziness or complaint at the most minor inconvenience is instinctual, cultural. Her mother’s people toiled in the fields for generations as a matter of survival, not knowing of a failed existence by modern, woeful standards.

She could find a job faster than any woman I’ve known, then obtain a second. She possesses the ability to work until her bones ache before settling into the most minor of comforts.

Her muscles are hard and smooth, capable of expected labor, set upon like thick rubber bands on that fragile and pretty frame. You wouldn’t think it to look at her, but she could bulldoze an apartment. Feminine virtues are not forgotten though. They are not thrown away by excuses of long days and petty misunderstandings between the sexes. She’ll dress up all right, using time to her advantage, taking on a shimmer and glow only rivaled by the contrasting vision of her natural beauty.

Oh how common we all look compared to that mysterious figure. People are so confused. “Where does she come from?” they ask. Even when told, they haven’t got a clue. Never has such a hybrid of the Orient joined forces with the American Pacific sunset. Her figure and attitude creates a perfect design, a mixture of old and new attitudes of feminism.

You think she has no power because she doesn’t shout the word? Because she doesn’t carry signs or demand against the laws of nature? Oh she does have great power. Ready to use and in reserve.

There is no replica. People know when they see her by my side that I have somehow managed to find a first edition. Yes, a traditional, sleek, steel design in a woman that causes the rest to only gawk in awe with a jolt of satisfaction of uncovering only a small part of the mystery.

If I went to a land with more of her, the land of her father perhaps, I would not know what to do. I would be overwhelmed by the sheer beauty amongst simple hardship. In the land of a thousand hers, I would attempt to multiply myself so I could fall madly for each of them as individuals. In the process, I would become unbound.

She understands and does not shun the demands of a husband, that wolf within the coarser sex. Instead, she discusses and throws jokes upon them openly, simplifies their meaning, makes them her own. I have no choice but to reciprocate. There is no blame for the sinister, no mocking of the frustrated anger to be released, no ignoring the perversion within us all.

Household chores are not so difficult or serious. She knows when an item has been moved, she counts with her eyes, forms patterns which I have disturbed. She could toil in a field, just as all of our ancestors, and eat upon the fine fruits with such great joy and satisfaction. Apply this principle to our motors, our flashy screens, our robots, the outcome of success is the same. Hard work in, happiness out. She knows this.

When we are on an adventure, back to where we belong, we set camp and enjoy where work is abound. She does more than her share, this comes natural without expectation other than smile and attention later. I roll through my mind in horror and loathing at all the tasks that need to be done, only to find but a few made just for me.

She handles the propane. What a wonder. I could ask for water but before the words are able to leave my parched lips, she has known from my yearning eyes. She has already trekked the miles through impenetrable forest, machete in hand, snakes waylaid, and dangers thwarted. These actions are to prove and to please, not only me, but us. She does for herself as much as for me.

She could set up the tent by herself if needed. Instead, I am her worker. She points, knows what to do. I have worn the uniform, I should know these things. I do, but I also know the chain of command.

I begin to tend the wood fire out of tradition or entertainment, but she handles the propane. She knows where to buy it and how to screw it on the stove. She is in charge of the modern version of that fiery bliss, and I haven’t got a clue.

She cooks, I learn, we both fish. She catches fish and I cheer. I worry while she has already done. I am expected to hunt, gather wood, and tend to the fire, feast and rest. I can do more, would have to if on and adventure with someone else, someone with a more “modern feminist sense”. Most of the time, she wouldn’t have it, she could do these tasks better than me anyway, with more satisfaction knowing it was done right.

She grooms me, takes away the blemishes of any day, warms my soul but she does not do my laundry. She would if I asked her. Knowing she has all the power, she still yields to my will, allows her man to stand out front. Power is unbecoming for those who demand its need. True power is already commanded, it is projected upon another to implement. She knows this too.

She takes children under her tutelage, shows them how to arrange and care for the ever growing garden. These small ladies are not hers, but they are ours. Still, she listens to them, she talks to them, caresses them, and plays with them as if they came from her own body. Ever selfless, she absorbs their pain, makes them smile.

She tells me what to do after I’ve thought about doing, but before I have taken action. This causes both known frustration and a humble smirk. I could give her two guesses, she only needs one.

We could go to Bangkok and stare at the pretty girls. We could go to St. Petersburg and marvel at the history, holding hands in our fur coats. We could sleep on a train and dine from a food cart in Madrid. She would shimmy up a tree, then cut stolen fruit in the Bahamas, her skin turning ever darker while mine screamed for another layer. Her exploration in New York would not contain panic. She would wander around at first, feeling joy and bliss at the simplest of nuance or observation. She would be an expert without a map in four days.

She will be there when I am old and look at me as if I am young. She won’t perceive what I was, rather, she will giggle at the boy trapped in the old man. She will comment on the smallest of gestures, poke fun at the strange habits, and appreciate my youthful preoccupations.

She handles the propane. What a wonder.

 

 

A Visit with Poet and Letter Writer Brandon Lawrence

Here is a spotlight  on one of our letter writers behind the recent book Letters Never Meant to be Read.
letters
Brandon Lawrence is a young poet, musician, songwriter, nerd, lover of all things nerd, and a hobbyist. He loves to delve into new interests as any curious human being. Brandon lives in the deep dark of Pennsylvania. We all need someone, or at the very least, something of someone to relate to. Brandon takes that approach to heart and hopes to achieve that goal with you through his letters and poetry. Below you will find a bit of magic in a poem or three.
A Knight in Shining Tinfoil Armor
Ride in from the horizon, sun glimmering off of him.
Looking chivalrous as ever, as rich a king.
Until he came closer to view, and the light had grown dim.
The horse was not a horse at all, and he had not a shield, nor a sword, or ring.
Instead he had a dog, one of great mange.
Tied to his fingerless gauntlet, bound to him by chain.
On him a thin metal, not armor, but silver and strange.
Not made of mail nor plate, full of rips yet no scratches no dings, had not one blood stain.
A man, from a far, seeming capable of the greatest feats.
Not wearing a helm, but a strange resemblance, a sort of metal hat.
Yet from personal space, not owning a pair of boots for his feet.
Looking much like a knight, but one of great shame at that.
He was a man of great respect, kindness and thanks, never asking for more.
A knight of the Templar he was not, but instead a knight in shining tinfoil.
I Am
I am the man in the shade, the man of shadow.
The monster you fear worst, devourer of souls.
Lacking of heart, of breath, no longer hanging.
Having a hunger, endless void, far from shallow.
I am, that which haunts you, glowing eyes, fearful.
Kneel and pray that as above, is not as below.
For you have entered into my death.
I am that which comes to drag, in your blood
you drown, too much to swallow.
But I am what you need, in fear.
Pain and agony, you must wallow.
Free yourself of sin, hear my howl.
Ask not who I am, for by no name need I follow.
But ask what I am, and find I am fair but foul.
I am truly a man made of monsters,
hidden beneath this cowl.
Mother Earth:
The expanse and wonder, to the love and mirth.
Brought to us, but so many lack the respect and love for her.
Her generosity endless, but our care is returned in numbers dearth.
From the sky, the mountains, plains, valleys, sands, and immense land disperse’.
From oceans, to lakes, ponds, creeks, and firth.
Our food and drink, to the very knees that hit the dirt.
To the endless reaches of space, far beyond Jupiter.
A place of infinite creation, an amazing place of berth.
That, to our mother, it gave birth.
Allowing feats of that unheard.
And she has, far beyond, proven her worth.
But we as the apex predator,
have continued to fail with repaying her.
There’s no place in this solar system, quite like Earth.
And there are no parents in this universe.
Quite like Father Sun, Mother Earth.
So we must stop our selfishness, and end this pointless nuclear purge.
We must combine our forces, create a plan to reimburse.
And do our best to save.

A Visit with Poet and Writer Meghan C. Rynn

I thought it would be a good time to showcase one of our letter writers behind the new release Letters Never Meant to be Read. When not trekking miles of tundra to tell someone how it really is or lapping up bowls of milk with her pet panther, Meghan C. Rynn is busy with her budding writing career. Below you will find a bit of magic in a poem or three.

 

Blue Eyes

Blue eyes

Ocean blue eyes

Graze on the world as it passes

The waves crash down

Over these eyes

As they fill with salty tears

I see you close

I see you near

You hold me, the rain stops

As the last drop hits the sea

Look through these eyes

What do you?

The ocean waves crashing

Softly

Where I’m from

A small quiet town

Where cherries fall from the sky

Brothers and sisters move away

Make sure you kiss them goodbye

I’m from a place

Where we juggle clay

And practice singing about a pool all day

I’m from a yard

Where friends come and go

Where the scars on our bodies are memories

Of a time with no sorrow

 

 

 

Mon Amour

We cuddle on our rug

Watching the cozy fire

As the stars above us burn inside the midnight sky

We watch the embers flicker

Hoping time won’t pass by

Bandits whisper in the shadows

But they dare not come near

Their knives held in hand

Yet you still feel no fear

We start out talking

But then we get too shy

We type all our feelings

While the sun begins to rise

We smile at each other

And we kiss our goodbyes

As we leave this place

Our secret place

So snuggly and warm

The place we spent those long summer nights

The place our love was born

“Feast or Famine” -Twitter Experiment with a Poem

This work is about the problem that many of us face when we have money, and then all of a sudden, we do not have money. No, it doesn’t likely rhyme and there are no fairies. Get the notions of High School Poetry out of your head. I recently transitioned from being self-employed to a 9-5, with a kicker 5-9 job to boot, and the change has caused quite a panic. What was living feast to famine has become a slow, dragging form of simple malnourishment. Of course, I am only referring to my bank account and my mounting millennial debt, and not my actual lack of food, not there yet. If this message were on Twitter, like the poem is in mutated form, I would hashtag 1st world problems.

People usually love Twitter or hate it outright. I myself hated this form of expression at first but have become interested in both the power and emptiness that exists within. The same can be said for poetry. There is a lot of garbage on Twitter and a lot of garbage poetry. If you adjust who you follow on Twitter, it can become a nice place to visit throughout dreary days and in the between when we find ourselves craving to be connected. I find myself going down various rabbit holes and in the act of reading more on Twitter than say, Facebook, but both have their moments.

For this experiment, I tweeted a stanza at a time and added to adjust to the form of our modern birdy marvel. Various hashtags and my link to this site were even added if they fit. If not, then not. Probably what I like most about Twitter is the brevity, something I could use even now. Giving yourself less to work with, word-wise can be a nice challenge. I often dream of small snippets of existence in the night and wonder if they would fit within the character limit. I have fun with the act of deleting unnecessary words and getting the message just right.

This poem can be found @marcdcrepeaux in backwards with various hashtags, sent into the oblivion, or below in the traditional format. Both have their interest. Although I did not write this poem for Twitter, I will likely try this again. Your feedback, as always Dear Reader, is appreciated.

If you like my poetry, more can be found in Worked Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common

 

Feast or Famine

 

I work hard with fear of a friend called death at my stern

Good to remember these lost moments of worry

Yet I fail, time and time again

 

Then, the fruits of labor from nowhere

Seem to somehow fall right into my lap

An oblivious result of my frenzied panic

 

At once, I feel flush and act as a fool

Remove the famine from my hideous thoughts

What reprieve has befallen me!

 

The cavalry has crested the hill

See them there to free me from bewilderment?

I always knew they were riding, so fast, so strong

 

I peel off the dollars as the lucky ape that I am

My eye turned away from the famine

Groceries fall from the sky, into my belly

 

Old debts paid, lines in the sand forgotten

Wet tide of safety washes over

A cocoon lay with a hole in the bottom

 

This leak spills money in droves, so flush, so willing

Only a matter of time before fear swells in with the tide

Small panic sets in and a hasty recount is made

 

Oh no! There is little left to keep a forever feast

Time is against my dwindling fortune

Bills already sent, prices paid for noncompliance

 

Oh no! Fear eats away at my reserves, chews from my pile

In the night the sea has swelled

By dawn, waves subside and reveal the ugly truth

 

I have nothing, am nothing once again

That is why I must work

Feared frenzy fills my wretched veins all over

 

My old friend, what took you so long to set at my bedside?

Can you hear the cavalry over the hill?

No, not yet, better for us to keep going