Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Another Day Laborer

It’s 6:15am
at the coffee kiosk
in the AM/PM 

with the other day laborers,
dirty orange shirts
and dark almond faces,
fueling up,
some with coffee
some get the
2 for $2.29 hot dogs
and slather them
with every possible condiment,
for reasons I suspect
are part culinary
and part budgetary.

They talk and laugh,
a quasi-fraternity,
in fluid Spanish to protect
their privacy,
their dignity.
I view and respect them
from a distance
because even though 

we are all Mexicans,
I don’t fit in with them.

I arrive at the college
where my title is Dean,
and sit in sterile conference rooms
among the academicians
each holding an iPad,
properly groomed
in blazers and ties,
except me in my
rolled-up shirtsleeves,
sans neckwear,
listening to
esoteric rhetoric
about pedagogy
and student access.

Around the conference table
the array of fleshtones
(mostly pink)
possessing impressive titles
(mostly ceremonial)
congratulate me
on my latest
whatever-it-is
and never suspect
that I work double time
to banish any suspicion
that I am just
a misplaced day laborer,
and I realize that
though I’ve been here
twenty years,
I still don’t fit in here either.

Returning to
my quiet office
I hunt and peck,
wrestling
with feelings of doubt
and inferiority,
trying to shape
something poetic,
redeeming,
maybe even heroic,

tap tap
tap
tap
backspace
backspace
backspace
backspace
backspace

but finally
fitting in.

[Written for #OpenLinkNight at www.dversepoets.org - a poetic oasis in the internet desert.]

32 comments:

  1. oh yeah, you fit in there in the end...its interesting the seperations we create between people...and then how we try to fit within the structure as well of our own creating...or that we find created for us...an honest write man...

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    1. Thanks, bro, this is a documentary.

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  2. I am not all that sure fitting in is a good thing--but it can be painful when we don't--loved this! (I too don't fit in well)

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    1. I agree when fitting is a choice, but when it's imposed from without, it's a drag. Thanks, me neither.

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  3. Yes... poetry is our home, isn't it?

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    1. Yes, writing is a safe haven for me. Poetry is another place where I feel I don't fit in. Thanks :)

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  4. The struggles to FEEL like we fit in. I have felt oftentimes that I haven't fit in either. Sometimes I think we mostly do this to ourselves....negative mind games...and each of us fits in as well as anyone else..

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    1. I agree, I'm probably too self-conscious about the differences and blind to the similarities. Thanks!

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  5. I know that feeling too. And I always think the 'real' grown ups are going to find me out. Good, thoughtful write.

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    1. Yes, I'm almost fifty and I still timid around the grown-ups. Thank you, Other Mary.

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  6. Your honest, sincere voice makes this piece very easy to read. I liked this one a lot, Buddah. I'm glad you've found your niche.

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    1. Thanks, Alex. I strive for honest and sincere and entertaining enough to keep the reader to the end.

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  7. This is a great poem with a great message... Of course, we, as poets, rarely fit in...but still, it can be hard sometimes.

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    1. Thanks! The not fitting in helps us see things others glance over.

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  8. Anonymous7:37 PM

    Loved this .. .and how you finally fit in. :) Thank you for doing what you do, being who you are!
    -deb

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    1. Thanks Deb! Your acceptance means a lot.

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  9. How the world sees us is so different from how we see ourselves. Thank goodness for being able to escape into our writing, where we are not judged by title or position, or any preconceived notions by those who would presume to know us. We escape from the world when we write, peeling back the layers and finding ourselves in the process.

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    1. Thanks, I agree, and sometimes its not about meaning as uch as its about amusement. But, it's mostly meaning. :)

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  10. an honest and insightful piece. the ending quite perfect.

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    1. Thanks, rarely is anything "perfect" in my world.

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  11. You certainly fit in..well and comfy between the lines. I guess we all have those moments of wanting to belong and even not wanting to belong. A very sensitive piece here, Mosk...keep wondering, you...it makes you...you. Keep "not fitting in."

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    1. Thanks for your validating words!

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  12. I don't think my comment took...so here it is again...different mebbe. Guess we all wonder at times if we fit in. Frankly, I don't give a damn anymore. You certainly fit in here, poet....but keep being different...it's what makes you...you...Sensitive, well done piece here, Mosk!

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  13. the education system is designed to be a system of attrition, it is supposed to make people feel they might not fit. it would be nice if it were designed from different foundations. perhaps for students you are someone with more empathy =). great images of both worlds.

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    1. Thanks Lucy. I appreciate your kind words.

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  14. Hey bruddah,

    It's so interesting... the pink flesh tones, the feeling society has placed upon you that you "don't belong." It's something women come across all the time in education and in business: The old White Boy secret handshake. I had to learn, being an Anglo in a mostly Black music scene, that what mattered was inside, and how I expressed myself. First glance, they didn't think much of me. But when I opened my mouth and shared my music, THEN... Loved this, amazing who will relate to it, each in their own way! Your sistah, Ameleh
    http://sharplittlepencil.com/2013/02/12/lion-hearted-man-rip-marques-bovre/

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    1. Thanks. I know some will have rachmones (that's Yiddish for empathy) and its that marginalization that made me get two sociology degrees. I knew you'd understand.

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  15. we are all misplaced day labored.

    when i saw the word "fitting" in at the end, it made me think of being filed in also...once we fit it, it's like we are filed away


    Initiated Kiss

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  16. oh, Mosk, i loved this, from beginning to end. but didn't you get the memo? poets never quite fit in. :) (it's overrated anyway.)

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