a poem about my minimum wage past
I loved this poem so much. It was like a song. Made me remember a lot of people from very similar experiences. It’s so true - I remember their names, but none of the bosses’. I don’t miss wearing a smock, apron, a name tag, or finding acceptable enough “black polishable shoes”.
I love how long you made this one. I can't say exactly why, but it fit the topic somehow.
Oops- meant story not poem for The Sandwich Maker - a story poem, or a poem story or a poetic story - whatever it was it was definitely a story on poetic steroids.
It’s good to know more about White Mike and Black Mike - this poem is a wider-spread but just as tender and scorching as “The Sandwich Maker”. I thought that poem (The Sandwich Maker) would make a great film but now I think it would make a series. You have so many stories here - I can feel and touch these worlds you invite us into. I have lived them - those jobs in the food service and office support industries. I also dabbled in credit card phone solicitations but lasted only 2 days on that one. It felt too predatory- mostly I reached very old, very lonely women who were happy to have someone to talk to. I traded that job for a job hand coloring maps, a job like no other, the best job trade ever. I do see/feel films in these poems, but they are fantastic poems without being films. The worlds you create in print resonate powerfully and personally and send me into worlds I’ve lived in and worlds I can imagine even if I haven’t lived in them. Thank you. As always.
Those were the good times.
The stories in here. Told and untold. And the humanity.
I loved my ljobs growing up. If not for the feeling of having money I had earned myself, then, and mostly, for the people I worked with.
Love so many lines and ideas here! The turn at the very end is such a great hook. Laughed out loud at this line: “nothing
minimum about a poor
person's rage”. Made me think of a great name for a punk band that must already exist: Maximum Rage. Appreciate you as always!
Lots to say about this one, but 'Full Of Heart' is my main take. Read every line and loved the "Earth Abides" italicized secondary commentary to Bosses everywhere!
Thank you, Colette.
blood and bone instruments... a simple irrefutable Marxist critique. Wish I had made up that line.
You made me think of a lot of my old coworkers. 😊 Also, I totally agree, “My soul was never you dustpan” is awesome!
Those minimum wage jobs can create a cameraderie that we miss in later "more advanced" jobs. I can remember people I worked with on breaks from high school and college. I also don't remember most of my bosses' names. Thanks for this memory.
Excellent. Really excellent. Been there myself. Many, many times.
As someone who regularly stuns my conservationist colleagues by talking about my minimum wage career lasting until my late 30s, (“what? You DIDN’T have a trust fund??”) this piece resonated about as loud as if I had my head stuck in the Liberty Bell. Thank you.
Minimum wage, I've had a few of those jobs
one was a work-study job I had in college, for 3 years
cleaning, after hours in the dept of surgery in the med school
the person who hired me was kind and fair...
my pay came from the university, pocket cash
i had my own key to the labs and offices
i emptied trash and sterilized surgical instruments
this was a research lab and i still have nightmares
of dogs waking up from anesthesia and dead rhesus monkeys
i found a rat running around one evening, i thought it was part of the lab, i took him home with a clear box, shavings, water and food
he grew to be about 14" long with a dark silvery coat, no lab rat
at the end of the semester i took him to the Winooski River bank
he ran in and swam to the other shore, I called him Smee
This poem is speaking for my soul. Thank you, Sherman Alexie.