A few times this month, I’ve felt like the forces working around my daily life are keeping track of my prompts (most of which I had set in stone before April started). For instance, I wasn’t able to get Day 13’s highlights up this morning (look for them on Monday), because my Clark Kent persona as a mild-mannered editor of Writer’s Market had some indexes to go over late last night. Sometimes work just gets in the way of having fun and saving the world, I guess.
Anyway, the reason that is relevant to today’s prompt is that we need to write an occupational poem today. You can write about your own occupation or that of another. Had a favorite job from the past? A least favorite job? A funny story from a job? Consider these questions before tackling your poem today.
Personally, I’ve held many jobs over the years, including baby-sitter, paperboy, bus boy, dishwasher, art gallery attendant, youth counselor for the City of Moraine, cashier, ice cream scooper, canvasser for a windows & siding company, night time stocker at a department store, and–being entrepreneurially inclined–I’ve had several odd jobs through the years as well. But I ultimately decided to write today’s poem based off my experience working at a car factory making struts one summer.
Here it goes:
“Waking up in the evening”
They brush their teeth and dress
before flocking to the parking lot
protected by barbed wire fencing
and a wide open gate. One by one,
they swipe their cards and move
though the turnstile, cross train
tracks and plug their ears against
the sound of metal on metal,
a cocoon to keep them safe from
the harsh realities of the situation:
While others sleep, they labor
over machines in a repetitive
thrum of this piece here affixed
to that piece there and move
it on to the next station and
back to this piece here affixed
to that piece there until a machine
breaks and throws off the units
for the day. Then, the foremen
shuffle around and fuss at them
to remind them they’re no better
than a machine. They defiantly
put up with the abuse until
it’s time to go home, driving
the against the traffic caused
by the others, the people
who sleep while they work.
When they get home, they
take showers and have trouble
getting themselves to sleep.