“Dear National University” from Letters Never Meant to be Read

 

This is going in the next Letters Never Meant to be Read and I hope this stirs up at least a little controversy.

This one is to National University, my alma mater where I earned my MFA in Creative Writing. I have another one for Southern New Hampshire University that I will preview soon as well. I hope to pin one against the other, or at least gain awareness of nonsense. Please share!

 

Dear National University,

 

This summer, I applied to be an online adjunct professor for your creative writing program. In response, you sent me this trash:

 

Dear Marc,

Thank you for your interest in teaching with the College of Letters and Sciences.

We received your application to Job ID: 5551 – PT Adjunct – Department of Arts & Humanities.

Upon review of your education history, we see you are a graduate of National University. In order to promote academic diversity, we look for individuals who have received their master’s and/or terminal degree(s) from other institutions.

In the future, should you obtain a higher level degree from a different university, you are more than welcome to reapply.

Thank you,

National University

 

What does that mean, academic diversity? Do you know how old school you sound? It’s 2017 and you can’t be a contradiction. You can’t eat cake and say that you don’t promote frosting. Is this how you prove that you aren’t a degree mill? Is this how to prove to the world that you aren’t an overpriced printing press? What a joke.

I am in debt! Can’t you see I need help?  Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of your literature, your workshops, and your grueling masquerade. We were lovers. How could you deny our offspring?

You dare insult my industrious nature. My ambition is more than your cake. I’ll chop wood anyway and warm someone else’s hearth. See me chopping away? You have made a mistake. You have given me more fuel.

I was in the habit of telling everyone that you did me some good. I recommended you to others who were lost. In return, as a sign of your affection, you hold onto moldy habits and rotten rules. You clutch bitter knives to ward off pests. Pests like me. I will be a hoard and strip the land of your existence. How dare you deny me?

Maybe I will obtain a higher degree from a different university. I will chop so much wood. I will get honorary degrees all over the damn place. I will give speeches at graduations that people will put on YouTube for inspiration. I will deny your existence. I will deny our love.

Tell Southern New Hampshire to hire me because you won’t. Tell them how rigorous and robust your program was for me. Tell them it was worth it.

 

forward-graphic-sig

 

 

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

 

Video Version:

 

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.

 

If you liked this poem, please share. More poems can be found in:

“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

 

“Dear Prospective Employer”- A Revision

Here is a revised version of “Dear Prospective Employer” in case you missed it before. This is a letter I wrote while waiting at a job interview. I felt naked, nervous, afraid at the time, on my last thread. I did well, but I couldn’t help feel that I lost a piece of myself there in that very common ritual. That is simply because, Dear Reader, I was desperate. This article on Investopedia does a bang up job at explaining unemployment verses underemployment if you can avoid the incessant popups. This one is likely to go into the upcoming title Letters Never Meant to be Read.

 

Dear Prospective Employer,

Yes, I have achieved things. Yes, I can do your no frills job with satisfaction of everyone in your petty, cramped office. I maintain the ability to sit there at nausea, waiting for another satisfactory human to complete a mundane task thereby handing the baton to me while strutting, late as usual, so I can take the “project” that last leg before it goes to the big boss.

I want to thank you so much for peering at my resume and giving me even the slightest chance at getting a job. I have bills to pay, after all, and they keep mounting. They call for my heart to be ripped out and served on a silver platter among others in a nice long row, still pumping and bleeding for sure. We do want to avoid that. What have I been doing since my last job? I can tell you. I have been paying one bill off with another down the road to include hefty interest. I have been using plastic as if it were real money, funds I actually had. I have been screwing my future self to the wall of shame.

I perfected the art of my resume, skewing the truth here and there to get past your robot gate guards who scan lives for key words and phrases. I even paid someone with debt to make my rap sheet just so. I have fooled your coded keepers this time for sure and can only say that it is all there, see it? See all of my degrees that nobody cares about but everybody said I should get? My apologies, I have too much education for you. Do people with degrees make you squeamish? See my previous work experience, even the times when I went out on my own and took a chance? Oh, you don’t like those items either. They scream, “not a team player” for sure. I should have put something else in there, damn. I should have pretended just a little more, given myself honorary employee status during those years of failed entrepreneurship.

What happened to my past precious business ventures? Why do I no longer run that “company” or operate that personalized service? Well, I discovered, just as you know, that employees don’t care. Nobody can afford to pay anyone to care. A “living wage” is a joke, a game being played like a carrot on a stick.  Must use a fake carrot though, a real one would spoil, dangling there so long and that wouldn’t do. There was also the issue of scalability. My big plan to never talk to people like you again worked for a time. Others got wind of this success and wanted to join which caused too many cooks in the kitchen, it happens. Also, such items as budgeting for growth and payroll tax aren’t on a learning curve and my expensive degree programs didn’t discuss pitfalls. That happens too. I learned quite a bit during those experiences, much more than the idiot sitting next to you in that cubicle who eats meatball sandwiches and takes twenty six minute breaks. So why not pick me? Why not take a chance on someone who knows what life is really like?

Perhaps I am being too honest here. What I need to do is lie about all of it. I should give my buddies the heads up, give out their numbers as my previous employers, gain true status. I could even offer them a sixer to make machine or copy room noises, hustle and bustle in the background. Oh, the heights I have risen to, but now it is time to come down from my perch and do some common good for this world, do some real work with you.

Or maybe all this time and effort I am putting into writing this and a thousand others would be better spent on something nefarious? Yes, I hear that criminal enterprises are always hiring and why not take a cue from the bill collectors anyway? Maybe I should just create a real leadership role for myself. I could better spend my time reading the paper. The police beat would allow me to build a team and put my skills to better, more profitable use.

No, that just wouldn’t do. The risks are too great and what would my mom think? I suppose I should just settle for begging for that hourly wage you offer and the fringe of being by your side. I will do a good job, I swear. Not great, but good, and solid, real solid too.

I am desperate. I am alone, afraid of the future. I am naked, just as you wanted me. Take me now. I will do whatever you ask.

 

-Marc