Sunday, August 21, 2016

A Couple O' Poems

I have a cursed, work-themed poetry chapbook called “The Acme Employee Handbook”. Publication of said chapbook has been a complete fiasco. I won't go into details,, but let's just say I have been radicalized by my frustration with its numerous would-be publishers, and I finally decided that I will just self-publish the damn book my damn self, and release it for free on the interwebs. I haven’t quite figured out my publication platform yet, or the specifics of how this is actually going to work, but when I do, I will let you know ASAP, and post a link to where you can download the book. In the meantime, here are a few poems from it:

The Anesthesia Technician in Retirement

Before death, the counting. If they allow it, my hands and the song of my hands. My native blessing. 

To be born is one thing, but to awaken every morning: Rose of Hope, ardent bloom, stoic and striving. To go alone each night.

I walked them over every stone low to the lapping edge. I told them to dream of Chinese noodles, grenadine and swans. The heat of my palms guided their descent.

I want to emerge magnificent again, exalted against the sunrise. Simply: to awaken in happiness.

I would chart each foot of submersion, but still they rose up terrible, slammed to the surface, yet to shift from their underskins: monster, newborn, terror-wrecked.

Now I am yanked each morning from the underworld, hag fish, thrashing on the brown water, battling air with my soft gray teeth.

Later they thanked me, the ones who shattered intact.

A History of Lessons on the Nature of Work

I was told it was heavy. 
I was told it was heavy, and brought no reward.
I was told it was a given.
I was told to expect nothing from it.
I was told that in its throes I would have no power.
I was told that its labors would be endless.
I was told that planning doesn’t help.
I was told to make a plan.
I was told I should be grateful.
I was told that the dispassionate succeed.
I was told that practicality trumps fulfillment. 
I was told that repetition is the stuff of life.
I was told that a task is a task is a task.
I was told it was not in the labor but in the execution.
I was given a stone on which was carved the word “dream.”
I was given a workshop on manifesting my potential.
I was given a poster of a white bird following its bliss.
I was given this phrase: do what you love and the money will follow.
I was given this phrase: the money will follow.
I was given little in terms of benefits.
I was given a bill for every overdraft.
I was given a lesson in floral watercolor.
I was given more than one certification.
I was given something weighty, and difficult to do.
I gave a promise: I will work hard at something difficult.
I keep to my desk, my heart and eyes compliant.

--Kristen McHenry

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