Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Job

A  brief preface to this can be found at

Despair and Hope (Preface to "The Job")


The Job – Part I
The job I do, it pays my rent and more,
it gives my life a form – and when at work,
I see a village there, of which the kids,
the teachers, others and myself are part.

Although I know it’s just a fantasy,
this fills the emptiness and gives a why,
a reason to arise at dawn.  The work –
it’s filled my life for close to thirty years,
and it is endless, overwhelming, yet
it’s better than the walls and emptiness
with which I’m left on those rare times
when I have done what’s needed to be done
and so there’s space.

And yet, for all the sustenance it gives,
the job deprives me too of sanity.
For all those years, obsessed with doing right
what can’t be done, left little space for else.
And more and more, I see how mad it is,
this job I do – and my insanity.

And so, when there is space, there is regret,
and not for what I did, with all my heart,
but for all I never had a chance to do,
the duties that were lost to distances
and this, the job that I and others do.

2014  April 17th, Wed., 6:47 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York 

The Job – Part II

We work to pay the rent, to feed ourselves,
our kids.  But in our times, with workers flung
apart across the continents, our labor
may become, for some of us, the thread
we daily weave that strings what’s passed, the now,
what’s coming, into one.  So what to do,
when all our work is seen as meaningless?

And as the pressures mount on those who work,
we work yet faster, more. The workday spills
and washes over evenings, weekends, more...

And so it is, that some of us may find
that holidays are spent in catching up
with all the job-work that we couldn’t do,
while working, daily, at the job we do!

And so, we seek escapes, from all this work,
and some may find more healthy ones than some.
And others yet are good at what they do,
efficient, even, one may sometimes think,
as were the ones who burned the Gypsies, Jews…

But that’s unkind.  Let’s tip our hat and go.

2014, April 17th, Wed. 7:14 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York


The Job – Part III

We learn from our mistakes and those we see
that others make, who might not care to see.

Be slow to judge what others seem to do.

For each may walk upon a path, and each
may think that that’s the only path there is.
But paths are myriad, and the walkers too.

But never run, although they force you to.
For that’s when kindness ends and cruelty

“Oh yes,” you say, “that sounds all well and good.
But when the bulls stampede, who dares to pause?”

Well run then, for your life, but try to slow.
If speed is catching, isn’t slowness too?

The worker in the line must work at speed.
She’s caught, like soldiers are, who’re sent to kill.

But wars are madness. So are human mills.

The mills are not what we or those we teach
Are destined for.  It’s up to me and you,
and not the ones who order, pass decrees.

If not for all our students or for us,
then for the students and their teachers next,
let’s bring a little meaning back to school. 

2014, April 17th, Wed. 7:33 am
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York

The JobPart IV

The savvy know, what counts is packaging.
For who has time to open up and check
the innards of what's marketed and sold?

And yet, when it's our child that sits at school
or it's our mother, in the hospital,
who is it then, that then becomes the fool,
and why the wailing at the state of sin?

2014, April 17th, Wed. 1:43 pm
Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, New York


Please see also the brief preface to this, at

Despair and Hope (Preface to "The Job")


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