My New Job

By Catherine Wagner Catherine Wagner
I am      Invested in
by a      Huge Fund
Heavy                    highquality
Sense of heavy
Addiction glossy pleasance
I was lying  Down on a yoga mat
 My bones
basketing air     Barely draped in
the basket             Effulged by local
Air      Highquality        scented
humid air
to support          My orchid        Skin
Suffuged in this Air
expense I nearly
floated  Who was my  Body
I am comfortable I am
comfortable     Flying my spirit
On a long leash
She is            in the wind
   I am in the     belle
belle jar
shellacked and        brittle
  begins to      ding
How can I      From inside this comfort
Represent      Hope to
No no
I am                 Too tempted
To think I            Deserve it
                     Rigidly and with effort
know my privilege
I know my fluorescent doorway
A rectangle   Among the ceiling tiles
Ordinary flecked coated  1) foam rectangles
and one hard white light regularly rubbled
 2) glass rectangle
 these are my choices
     ceiling tile                      I would tear
in                         behind the
       Ugly lattice to the   Duct area
   Unscrew the grille    Smallen myself
Into the dark cold  Square pipe
    To share  My cold  What is in
       My basket    Bone-basket
              With the other      breathers/Workers
Or through the fluorescent door
 Means giving up   On going   behind
the lattice.
All that’s allowed   Through the flow light
Is what   Is shined upon
The light bends looking at my   Skin
and hair   and   green blouse
       When I concentrate  The light bending
All at once         Hooks my outsides
Hooks them into itself
             Now I am
     absent that
I am not / shined upon
     very small        dusty
     lizardlike   a  toad    a  turd
   on a tabletop     corner

And the outside of that is hooked away
         wow my parents
hooked away           People
on the street   skin and clothing
    hung on hangers
  from    electric wires
blooming and twisting    swells of breeze
leave behind             on the street
a fair       weather
an easy            weather
I think I’m better    than the walk-throughs
    because something is left of me
that’s what I     think I must
  be wrong to     think so
               Would you like to    Eat at my house
Fill up your              Walk-through
You drive through               Fill it up with
tea and sheets
  water from the toilet
These could    be your eyebrows
these could be your knees, these coasters
                  What could                be your inside?
   Paper       wadded paper
      It says something
What about              Something sticky
       For your mouth             Honey
Then we will read you      For dinner
In my  transitional housing    [dirt ball toad]
   I picked myself apart   With a fork
  Connected a wire      Where my belly was
                                         Coiled up   the plug
           The prongs poke hurt
This is the part        Light plugs
        into           My/The outside plugs
into             To light up
The    shine    is    from    unshiny
  sewn in place with the little
     Light hooks     Made a case for me
   so I retaliated
Against the hooks
I was    trying       My lizard turd
   was trying    to    join the other
my thrashing         harnessed
made the light
Meanwhile       My toad
from the walkthroughs       High empty
thoughts      Funneled   backchannel
Won’t you be mine [mind]         Be my thought
softening                   the rockmud
I will reorient  now          I will claymation
That is a scary    Gingerbready
    mud man
  walking          You can’t catch me       hole for
                        Your thoughts
   tunneled invisible     Unreflecting
Not wrapped
The Sun is here    Also   later and at
  the same time   the sun burned
    up and we revolved
around it dirt rock
    warm   dirt rock
    in the dark                     of coursing
    around the dark
I have made myself the center of
     the galaxy
I am very important to myself
  must lose this
The shine is off
perspect while kicking

Where do you      think they get the lights from?
   Burn it up, burn up all the fuel
into furious dirt
don’t need light
When I am in a room with forest
It is not that myself comes home to myself
   Selva oscura,  ya
     Obsecurity of self
      I considered long and seriously before
           I was bornt
      I stood on the street
    With the hookers
Who were selling
Disappear into a hole
 Into Mama
    but come back out.
   Go in, boys.
   Go in and stay there.

Catherine Wagner, “My New Job” from My New Job, published by Fence Books. Copyright © 2009 by Catherine Wagner. Reprinted by permission of Catherine Wagner.

Source: My New Job (Fence Books, 2009)

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Poet Catherine Wagner

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Subjects Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

Poetic Terms Free Verse

 Catherine  Wagner


Catherine Wagner’s collections of poems include Nervous Device (2012), My New Job (2009), Macular Hole (2004), Miss America (2001); and a dozen chapbooks, including Imitating (Leafe Press, 2004). She has performed widely in the U.S., England and Ireland; her poems and essays have appeared in Abraham Lincoln, Lana Turner, New American Writing, 1913, How2, Cambridge Literary Review, Soft Targets, Action, Yes, and other magazines. . . .

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SUBJECT Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Arts & Sciences, Language & Linguistics, Social Commentaries

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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