POETRY: BRUCE MCRAE – GOOD WORK IS HARD TO FIND

Good Work Is Hard To Find

One clown shy of a circus,
the noose tightening . . .

Maybe I could sell pamphlets
or forge a career in whale-watching.
Maybe I can tune engines for a living
or find work looking up at the sky.

My last position was awkward
and difficult to maintain.
My last job was painting the centuries,
examining leavings,
setting alight broken-up furniture.

I’ve had more jobs than hot dinners.
Apprentice shoeshine boy.
Glove-buffer. Sentence-finisher.
The guy who sweeps up after the elephants.
I’ve been employed to watch ditches.
A paperclip-maker. Tambourine jockey.
Professional time-filler-inner.

And you go where the work is.
Tierra del Fuego’s seedy underside.
The slums of Alaska.
Half way in and out of the Atlantic tide.

Once I built some private hells,
but no one would buy them.
I was a part-time cat-walker. A full time fool.
The inventor of thumbless mittens.
I’ve gone down for a penny and stopped on a dime.
In this down-sizing economy
I admit my thoughts have turned to crime.
Shooting the breeze. Stealing breaths. Killing time.
I’ve taken courses in lobotomies.
I’ve attended janitor university.
Learned to cut grass by correspondence.

And you know those ads on matchbook covers?
I wouldn’t answer them.

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