The Latency

That the new thing now?

friday the 13th

you wake up with
optimism
had a good dream
a funny
dream
about some random
person wanting you to be a
character witness
in their
tax
trial

up until three sending
out resumes
and cover letters
each one different
carefully crafted for that
particular job;
you’ve learned you shouldn’t
use boilerplate prose
you need a different letter
for each job
and you’re okay
with that

come out into the world
pour a coffee
thinking: okay, maybe
the light on the
phone
will be
blinking blue

maybe there’s already a
response and
it’s a good one

you’re not looking for
much: twenty hours a
week, maybe
three or four hundred
bucks
you’ve got plans for your
free time
you need more knowledge
and that’s okay
too

just need enough to
keep you in
hot dogs and
salad and
beer
for the summer

the rest will
take care of
itself

you sit down with the
coffee and the light
is blinking blue
and for a second you
start thinking wildly about
interviews and
questions and whether or
not your suit’s
clean

just for a second
until you pull up the
message:

no, thanks,
it says,
we’ve gone in
another direction

we wish you
the best

you slump back
against the couch
stare at the ceiling

weren’t things supposed to
be different now, after
all that time and
money?

you’re not looking for
a career yet
some place to spend eight years
getting more and more
entrenched

twenty hours a week
and a few hundred bucks

the windows are
open and you
sneeze
and then the rain starts
falling
and you think:
another day
another disappointment
not much money in
the account
and there are bills yet
to be paid

at least the
cat’s happy
lying there in the middle
of the
floor
twitching his
tail

the little
fucker

torture

I am in
a jar on
your coffee table and
you are watching
TLC

eat drink stare sleep repeat

I woke up today with
no particular plans
having
gotten through xmas in
one piece

thankful for
that, at
least

no screaming or
approbation
everything calm and
comfortable

came over to the couch
scratched the cat
behind the ears
turned on the stereo
sat down
waited

the sun came
through the narrow
windows

I had some pie
and a couple
of beers

at some point the
doorbell rang
I didn’t answer it

then it was night
it came on fast

now it’s almost morning
and I’m still
sitting here
scratching the
cat
behind the ears
listening to
it purr

waiting

reaction to every possible thing

shut the
fuck
up

pain in the swell

what I’ve mostly got
is the cat
staring at me

country music
and cans of beer

it’s three a.m.

what’d
I miss

every sunset

makes things cooler
for a bit
until it comes up

rising

and rewarms
the world again

you know
this

you don’t need
me to
tell you it’s
going to happen

it will

go outside
and see
it

the rest
is dust

Box Poem

the lid
is life

On Glut

too damn much
of everything
now
except money
and time

Scene From a Movie Not Yet Written

CREEPY GUY: Hey, Gloria.
GLORIA: Um. Hey.
CREEPY GUY: I wrote you a song the other night. Wanna hear it?
GLORIA: Oh, that’s –
CREEPY GUY (screaming): G L O R I A! G L O R I A! G L O R I A!
GLORIA: …
CREEPY GUY: Like it?

I’m starting to think New York wants me dead

I spent much of this year working a fairly thankless temp job at a sanitation garage in Douglaston, a little village close enough to the Nassau County border that you could almost smell the Aqua Net. Any prior misconceptions I might have had about the good graces – or, indeed, the existence – of karma or cosmic payback have been completely cleared up in the two months since that odd little gig ended, because since then there has been: nothing.

And I do mean nothing. Image

Five or six years ago I left a bookstore job that I’d had for longer than I’d like to remember. It was time for a change, it had been a long time coming, and quite honestly I felt strange continuing to work the same job I’d had before college after I’d, ostensibly, gone off and spent a decent amount of money learning to do something a little more productive and/or beneficial to society than telling some corporate lawyer why he’d rather read Jeffrey Deaver than James Patterson. (There was also the little matter of not really being able to support myself on my salary, which was more to do with the fact that it was East Hampton than the piddling amount I was earning. But I digress.) And I figured, hey, what would be more fun than moving to New York and being a job hopper?¬†Think of all the material you’ll get, dude, I remember thinking. Sure, why the hell not? My girlfriend was already here.

I bring up my old bookstore job only to illustrate that another bookstore job, this one down in the Village, is only one of several places that have rejected my advances in the last two months. I mean, Christ. If there’s one job I can do forwards and backwards, in my sleep, it’s manage a bookstore. The guy said he’d keep my resume “on file”. Yeah, well, I’ve seen that guy’s files. That thing may as well be in orbit. It’d be just about as easily accessible there.

The thing that’s really starting to get to me is this: I’m not trying to shoot the moon, here. I want $35K a year and a job that’s not going to make me vomit. Typing, data entry, filing, copyediting. Usual, mundane, gutshot phlegm, the sort of thing that society and pop culture would have you believe any lummox with opposable thumbs and a four-year degree can just fall into.

If that’s the case, well, apparently I’m not that lummox. Or else my thumbs aren’t really opposable. And I don’t think that’s it, because I haven’t noticed myself dropping things. Maybe that’s the final joke: that I’m just good enough to know why I’m not getting any callbacks, but not good enough to, you know, actually get a callback.

even the people I know

with master’s degrees

are making lattes

and walking dogs

I’ve always been a pretty shitty networker, too. Maybe that’s it. Maybe New York isn’t what secretly wants me dead. Maybe¬†I secretly want me dead.