Just a Job

Cleaning houses
Not what I saw
Myself doing

In college…
Ten years ago…
Six months ago

But the need for
Is ever-present
And sometimes
You can’t be picky

It was a mobile home
2 bedroom 2 bath
Shag carpet
Greasy stove
Stained floor
Brown toilets

It had clearly
Been cleaned

I toiled away for hours
Till everything
Sparkled and shone

No cobwebs
No dust
No grime
No spots
Splatter or

Every muscle hurt
Every bone ached
My finger tips
Were blistered
My knees bruised
A knuckle bleeding
Mindlessly cut as I labored

Yet I still had
The front porch to do
Christ! Where the seven
Cats lived…

I’ll come back tomorrow
I whispered
And thought
If I’m still alive

I’ll finish the job
Bright and early
I didn’t realize
How long it would take

The next morning
I was there at eight
Finished up in
Two hours and ten

Alice paid me in full
Plus twenty-five tip
You did such a good job
She smiled

Pressing the money into
My hand
She said
And you came back!

As if I would leave it

I loaded my supplies
Into my car
Then headed to
Smaller job

Helping Lola
Clean out her garage
And put together a bed

As I prepared to leave
She turned to me
Have you got a card?
She asked

I’ve got lots of friends
Like myself
Who could use
A hard worker
Like you

I thanked her and told her
I’d get some made
Then drove home
If I did this often
My hands would toughen up
My muscles wouldn’t hurt
I’d be in fit shape
And my bank account…

A fast calculation said
6 houses a month
Would pay my rent
And then some

In the end, of course
Sprawled prostrate
On my bed
It felt the same
As any job
I might do
Or have already done

They all leave me
Pulling my hair
Telling myself

I’m too old for this
I’m not cut out for this
What’s the point of this
Oh god, why this?

It’s how I feel about all
Work for pay
And I’ve tried
My fair share
To be sure

It’s just a job
If it isn’t

Fuck, man
I’ve gotta
Sell that book…

8 Responses to “Just a Job”

  1. Your poems can make me laugh or cry near within a single heartbeat sometimes. More oft than I’ll fully admit. Very easy to fall into the bright shattered (sometimes) light of these poems – very raw! Raw like a heart is raw. Brilliant, too sophisticated a word, yet in its uncompromising light – it is! Like light, not like thought, I mean.

    I’ll admit it has taken me some while to find an easy bridge to allow writing as simple, direct and raw as these into my sensibilities. That probably don’t make easy sense, but so it is.

    These poems are less artful than they are simply real, unpretentious. I mean that most appreciatively. Thanks for writing.

  2. Suffer!!!!!!!!!!
    LOL…Nice one

  3. Neil, I’m touched by your praise. Thanks so much for continuing to read…

  4. Thanks B., Hey, could be worse right? I could be 65 embarking on this venture…:)

  5. Shyness is such a useless thing. I’m trying to get over myself! Here’s a thought I’m taking off the shelf.

    Some time back at an erotic reading circle I attended, this sweet young woman came up to me, said she could easily wish for a lover who wrote to her, as my poem was. About the best praise I can imagine to receive.

    So that’s what I want to say to you.

    Not just this one poem here (though I exclude nothing you write) but taken as a whole, through frustration, pain, sensual and sexual delight, through all of these words you write. I could wish to be as a lover might. Invoked intimacy seems to be standing at my shoulder here.

    Not appropriate to say? I wonder sometimes. I’m some sorry we (most of us?) are too polite so often. Saying don’t mean doing; it means shared regard. You understand. I am not “the one”, not that way, but by regard, by feeling, by care I can be honest that much. If remote, yet wish you well, as any deserve, as do you.

    Such is what your poems invoke. And I’m glad for how they make me look at my own life. Is that fair weather to say? Poems should have meaning. Yours do.

  6. ahhh.. this damn life. we should all be born to aristocrat families, raised as writers and grew with list of sold books. in stead we have to WORK (i will not say this word again) for passing the days and month. wtf. no job can satisfy when something else is on the mind.
    tell me when you get out of this silly maze..

  7. Neil, I write to express myself, but if something I write can encourage someone else to look within, all the better. I’m glad this has been the case for you. Many thanks again..

  8. Ah D., always the kindred spirit… I will indeed let you know. Love the way you used “wtf” by the way, you are picking up our American slang, and texting slang at that! 🙂

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