POEM LVII: “THE JOB THAT ISN’T YOURS”

“… if it works here, I go and try and sell it over in a real country.”
–Lars Mikkelsen as Charles Magnussen, “Sherlock”

I found a magazine
written only for the sellers of pizza.
Wall-to-wall articles on new ovens
and point-of-sale software
and the ever-increasing liability of teenaged delivery drivers.

Nothing so fascinating
as the minutiae
of the profession
which, thank God, isn’t yours.

The History Channel
realized this
and promptly gave us
hour after hour of programming
about pawn shop owners
and ice road truckers
and people who work on fishing trawlers.

Not so many shows on claims adjusters
and testing proctors.

We like watching people who work with their hands
in heat and cold
and if they’re a few rungs down the economic and social ladder from us,
and boldly festooned with tattoos,
so much the better.

We can enjoy the fantasy of freedom from the cubicle
the thrill of imagining what we’d pierce if only,
while feeling smug and safely satisfied
that while we are warm and cozy here
(here in our gated community
here above our two car garage)
that they are probably freezing in a trailer somewhere downhill from a K-Mart.

Nothing new about it. Dickins gave us the same kind
of juicy details:
what it was like to sweep out a chimney
to winnow for rag and bone
to work for a thief.

He didn’t know,
and we don’t either,
but we like to pretend,
to wish ourselves out of our problems
and into someone else’s for a while.

Meanwhile,
a round of dough flies like a thrown falcon from the hands of the pizza boy.
The ice road trucker sees a farther crest of world than we will ever know.
And the pole dancer,
alone in the quiet smoke scented room at last,
endlessly rehearses her moves,
cycling through them like a litany:

handshake grip,
claw grip,
twisted grip.

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