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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
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03 October 2005

Monday Lyrics Blogging

For a while now I’ve been considering another weekly something or other to compliment my weekly comics post, which I’ve apparently moved to Fridays. I’ve decided to do song lyrics. I’m a bit torn because song lyrics usually aren’t meant to be read on a page. They’re meant to exist alongside particular rhythms and melodies. It sort of takes away from the art, I think, to divorce the words from the music for which they were put together. At the same time, as eargasmic and wonderful as music is, most of the best poets I know of are songwriters. So we’ll see how this goes. I may decide that I hate this in a week or two. I may not.

To lead off, I’m actually cheating a bit. This is a slam poem, written by Daniel Roop, who is one of the most amazing performance poets you’ll ever hear. Again, I feel like I’m sort of doing him a disservice by not allowing you to hear his voice bounce over the rhythm like basketball dribbles. These words are meant to be heard, not read. But, unfortunately, this isn’t online anywhere, so you’ll just have to settle.

That said, download Love Poem #40, Forsooth, Motherfucker, and This Poem Is Not the Revolution for a taste of how Daniel can spit, particularly Forsooth. You’ll thank me later.

Anyways, this one’s for anyone who has, or has ever had, a shitty job.

The Ghost of Daniel Roop

Um, yeah, we’re going to be conducting a personnel surplus reduction and it’s no big deal. We just need you to fill out these surveys defining what your essential function is for the company. Okay? Thanks.

My father’s standing by his desk clutching hope like the cardboard box that holds his unplugged clock, thoughts of me and my mom and a calendar of space shuttle Challenger shots. Efficiency consultants stalk the rows where other men stand with their boxes and hopes and wait for their future, like cancer and strokes.

Nobody writes poems about losing jobs like losing lovers. One breaks your heart. One takes your pride and fills your stomach with real hunger, not a self-absorbed abstraction. This is real as Ramen noodles. It gets you thinkin’ about shootin’ and lootin’ peg groomers and kidnappin’ and ransomin’ rich ladies’ poodles. It sounds pitiful and crazed but we all feel that way some days. CEOs drop our wages, give themselves raises and finally tell us we can’t stay. So we trudge home with sore backs, carpal tunnel, and 12 packs, to cry, drink, fight, fuck, pray.

Then we send resumes like castaways send letters stuffed in bottles. We send references like promises to gloss our future bosses. “I type 80 words a minute. I’ve done years of fast food management. No I don’t know every syllable to ‘Eric B is President.’ That’s ridiculous. I make coffee rich as Trump is, wash your Hummer, bake you muffins, work through lunches and I’ll never ask for justice.”

And we dream the dreams we used to dream as dreamy adolescents. We wish back the days before factories or headaches from fluorescents. Back when I thought I’d live off poetry, celebrities would pay to see me. “Hey, yo, Ayo, Alphie, Seed, can I get a blurb for my next CD? Say, "It was like losing virginity the first time I saw DRee.”

Now Daniel Roop is in Britannica. Daniel Roop’s on 60 Minutes. Jennifer Lopez exhibits her nipples in pictures in desperate attempts to get Daniel’s attention. And next on NPR a poet pop star so damn wonderful Terry Gross will do this interview wearing nothing but Roop underoos.

I could trademark Roop, like 2Pac, leave the rights to my estate, and then the ghost of Daniel Roop haunts Shady agents in their sleep. But, for now, folks wake up early and dream of 40 hours a week. And I’ll send more resumes, like love letters, “Baby, I’ll be everything you need.” They come back unrequited, hearts break like piggy banks, like the minimum payment folks scrape to make to fucking Citibank.

And I’m thankful now to have a job, one that I love, not hate. And I know it could be yanked away, like tablecloths from plates. And I’d be out there yet again with big false smiles and resumes, showing my best face while I’m struggling just to make it through the day.

So I feel blessed to be with anyone where I don’t have to fake. I love my wife. She does her own thing and won’t let me fall and fade, man. She’s seen me in my undies eatin’ Funyuns, watchin’ reruns starring Roger, Duane and Rerun, my brain dead as mausoleum. She’s known me out of work and cryin’, held me in the shower shakin’. Woman’s seen me more than naked; she’s seen me dead-ass broke and breakin’.

So I mix my dreams with thinkin’, mix my thoughts with real conviction, and I kiss my wife with kisses, thank her for the love and wisdom, and keep perspective on who profits from staff reductions. I don’t stay silent, sir. These poems riot, sir. That’s their essential function.

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