Poem for May 14

Lost Explorers
It is worst of all
when we don’t know
When nothing is left
but an old hat, a tin of fish,
a paddle, compass
or some twine.
No tracks, no bones
nothing human for the stars
to shine down on
or to receive our tears.
Only dread imaginings
of their last breaths,
or the hope
that haunts our dreamings
where they live, where we
see them hiking back, carefree
and full of songs
learned in the place
to which they will lead us
the place to which
we will never want to go.
–first published in Animus


That’s internet slang for “looking for work”? How did I learn this? Why, http://www.internetslang.com/, of course! Did you know there’s internet slang for “person from Zimbabwe”? “Zimbo”. I kid you not. But, I digress.

I am looking for work! Please tell everyone you know within 15 blocks of 326 Main Street, Gloucester, MA. I’m interested in doing pretty much anything that involves working with nice people, learning something new, wearing cute clothes and NOT PRACTICING LAW.

You know, it’s ten years since I stopped practicing law (with a few exceptions), and people still harangue me about it. “Why did you go to all that work and spend all that money not to use your degree? Why would you change to a job with lower pay? How can you stand working for people younger than/less educated than/ less whatever than yourself? Don’t you hate not having status at work? Aren’t you embarrassed when RUDE PEOPLE LIKE ME won’t stop prying?”. (OK, I made that last part up). My answer? MYOFB and DPYN (don’t pick your nose).

This is my final answer. I practiced law for FIFTEEN YEARS!!!! I only went to law school for three (of the most miserable) years (of my life). I’ve paid my dues. Most of the work I did involved hideous situations in which children were hurt, hearts were broken, bad guys got off, and I had to sit knee to knee in jail visiting rooms with people I normally would not touch with a stick.

 Furthermore, my favorite jobs ever have been, in descending order: 1) telemarketer ( I worked them over with my perky voice. I can make myself sound really busty. Lonely old men buy lots of vitamins).

2) singing waitress (the guitar player and I saved enough change to go on a bargain weekend in the Bahamas),

 3) ed tech,

 4) college instructor, and

 5) horse stable mucker.

I could go on for quite awhile before I reached “lawyer”, “paralegal”, “legal researcher”, or “law clerk”. For one thing, the hype around the profession is completely misleading.  I never had those shoes or that briefcase or those legs. One time I had breast milk leak through my cheap blazer when I was standing in front of the bench and, on the same day, pulled a Pampers out of my briefcase, while the relevant file waited for me at home in the baby tote.

Those of you who know me must SURELY be itching to interrupt about now and ask “what about POET? Surely your most true, core calling is that of POET!”. So let me address that, briefly. “Poet” is not a job. If a stranger on a plane asks you what you do for a living, and you reply, “I”m a poet”, you sound incredibly pretentious, plus you are lying. No one “makes a living” being a poet. So there.

Why all this blather? Because I STARTED to write about my morning, and I got distracted.

This morning, I put on a short (for me) skirt, high (for me) heels to show off my tan (for me) legs, and walked downtown to look for work. Not the kind of work where you trot off with a leather case full of  CVs and letters of reference, but the kind where you walk in, ask if they’re hiring, and fill in a one-page, two-sided application with an iffy pen while you sit at the bar and hope you are sending out friendly and competent vibes. These legs would be nothing without Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey, so thanks, guys.

Midway through my journey I dropped in to my favorite gently-loved clothing store, The Dress Code, to ask for job tips, because they know absolutely everyone, and: lo and behold! a new order of kicky skirts had just come in, all in my size. Now, you know you have to look good to feel good and you have to feel good about yourself to get any kind of a decent job so I bagged a few career essentials:
They all have a little lime green thing going on so I had to add this amazing bangle,( only $3, in case my husband decides to read my blog, which he never does).

There were fantastic strappy sandals in this exact same color but they were $30 and I did not buy them, in case you ARE reading this, Honey, after all.

I’ll probably be strolling out tomorrow to fill out lots more of those flimsy, hopeful applications because it’s summer, and the seasonal places are opening up, but, on the other hand, I’m 50, and a chunky monkey, and I haven’t waited tables in 28 years. The last time I did it, I had to put down my tray every 15 minutes, walk up by the front door, and sing Your Cheating Heart, while the industrial dishwashers hummed discordantly in the background.

Do I still have it?
We’ll just have to see about that.

New Year


–Weed out my junk, inner and outer.

–Write more.
–See more of my friends.
–Skate some. Walk some.
–Keep this &%#$# blog!
Oh–and stop stockpiling for the “next catastrophe”. I had our cleaning goddess, Orianna, cull out three garbage bags full of expired canned goods from our basement. Shame. What’s left? Pasta, pasta, pasta. Also, I have eight cans of tuna, four cans of crab meat, seven tins of sardines, and four cans of corned beef hash to consume by April.
No problem. One can of said hash is this very moment developing a lovely crust in our big frying pan.
Speaking of catastrophe, one of the cats left me a turd outside the bedroom door this morning. This means the offending kitty carried the item up the basement stairs from the cat box. In its mouth. That’s motivation. They’ve been upset since we ran out of Greenies two weeks ago. Things are starting to escalate. Must get to Pet Quarters.
It seems I’m back in the writing biz! Had two poems accepted for the upcoming issue of The Cafe Review and just heard from John Berbrich that he’s taking two of mine for an upcoming issue of Barbaric Yawp. These publications and their editors have championed my work since early days and I’m so pleased to be breaking my rather long silence by a reappearance in their pages. I’ve also accepted an invitation to participate in a panel discussion at the 2001 Terry Plunkett Poetry Festival at UMA.
The publishers of Barbaric Yawp, John and Nancy Berbrich, have become dear friends over the years, and in two weeks I’ll be visiting them in their incredible book-crammed house in Russell, NY. Harold and I had a fantastic time with them when we visited a few years ago and I’ve decided to stop postponing the delight of a return visit and GO! Check out their website; they publish great chaps, too– two of mine, I’m fortunate to say.
I’m getting revved up for my “Mass Media and Popular Culture” class. It’s a hybrid this year, which gives me a lot more flexibility for using multimedia. Thanks to Harold, who turned me on to the series, I’ve been previewing episodes of the CBC’s great radio show “The Age of Persuasion” with Terry O’Reilly. O’Reilly really makes the ad world come alive. Starting this month, the series will be officially available in podcast. UNofficially, archived shows are available thanks to some enterprising blogger.
Time to eat that hash! Mmmm, mmmm!