Resume – by Jason Baldinger

Dear human resources manager
I know you get millions of pieces of paper
from job hungry applicants
that you don’t give a fuck about
much as we don’t give a fuck about you
but capitalism still hasn’t ended
I mean it theoretically ended
when the industrial revolution was pronounced dead
but capital’s endless exploitation is still rampant
and apparently just to live
and apparently just to experience life
is not an acceptable trade
I suppose it doesn’t matter
that this is not meaningful work
there are only mostly retail and service jobs
left for low wage workers
who could only be so lucky
to dream about a universal basic income
or for that fact free health care
so I will happily wait on americans
who somehow believe that
these material possession
will somehow fill the emptiness
in their hearts

I can’t tell you what intangible qualities
I have to offer you. I’m quick with new tasks
I’ve run businesses for friends dying of cancer
I do work hard when there’s work to be done
I think outside of the box
I like write poems and daydream
I want to cry at least once a day
because the world is beautiful
because the world is sad
because I might be hungover
because existence in ultimately futile

I can tell you I won’t spend more than
two hours a day in the bathroom
writing poems
on paper or on the stall walls
if I choose the walls
I can promise you will have
the most articulate customers
I’ll even be happy to hide a dictionary
behind the toilet, in case I get a penchant
to use one of those five dollar words
I’ll happily volunteer my Webster’s
that I stole in eighth grade
it has space guns drawn in the margins
but has served me well
for almost thirty years

I have no idea where I’ll be in five years
in ten years, hell if any of us could see
that far into the future we wouldn’t be sitting
here waiting for a fucking job
hell, I’m still not sure what I want to be
when I grow up, or maybe I know
but people don’t pay poets money
people don’t believe in art
people seem only to believe
in money or a god that don’t exist
they long for an afterlife
like I long for early retirement
and I promise I won’t say that out loud

I think its safe to say I’m highly adaptable
last week I installed cabinets one day
hung a suspended ceiling the next
I sold records for friends in my spare time
I wrote and submitted poems
agreed to do another benefit show
then woke up and was a book mule
I drank beer on my break
because it tasted good
and I was tired and it was offered
and I learned a long time ago
that you should always say no
in moderation

seriously though I sold paint to people
I’ve been cursed out for not having the key
to the narcotics locker when I  managed a drug store
I pretended once to care about office supplies
sporting goods, deli meat, detailing cars
processing checks, auto parts
and that doesn’t count all the things
that I may have pretended to care about
because I needed a job then
as I need a job now

I will ask that if you care to drug test
I will pass as long as you don’t test for marijuana,
I know it’s still sort of illegal
I promise I won’t smoke it before
a shift or in the middle of a shift
but I do like it socially
and generally it’s the only way
I get a good night’s sleep nowadays
and that’s important for productivity

that’s what you want right
happy and productive workers
anesthetized and dreamless
wading through their lives
just getting by
constantly careening
at the drop edge of broke
a paycheck away from being hungry
a paycheck away from being homeless
a paycheck away from hope

~Jason Baldinger

Poet Jason Baldinger has spent a life in odd jobs. Somewhere in time he has traveled the country, and wrote a few books, the latest of which, Fragments of a Rainy Season, will be available through Six Gallery Press later this year. A recent list of publishing credits include: Uppagus, Anti Heroin Chic, In-between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Nerve Cowboy, Winedrunk Sidewalk and Lilliput Review. You can also hear audio of some poems on the bandcamp website by just typing in his name.

Guest Editor Z. Hall is a poet whose work features ekphrasis, and explores race, gender, and culture. She is an essayist and has served as a PEN Prison Writing Mentor. She is currently a writer-in-residence at the Charlotte Street Foundation. As an art writer and scholar, her peer-reviewed publications include works on Beyoncé and Jay Z’s ‘Drunk in Love,’ the field recordings of Stephen Wade’s “The Beautiful Music All Around Us,” emergence of the Christian film industry in Lindvall and Quicke’s “Celluloid Sermons,” and the political cartoons of the 2005 Muhammad Cartoon Controversy as rhetorical art, among other works. Hall is the Executive Director and Producer of Salon~360, a monthly, Kansas City regional event that brings together artists whose work focuses on challenging societal issues, for which she was awarded an ArtsKC Inspiration Grant.


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