12 December 2011

Kevin in the elevator

Dear Kevin-in-the-elevator,

Yes, I am using your real name. As told to me. Assuming you are real. Assuming I did not walk around 14 floors – as directed by the guards, this is a very secure building, with my large box of office supplies and binders with information on buprenorphine – and down, around, past more guards (how secure if I don’t have a badge yet?) – to end up on a not-real elevator in a not-real building.

But really, Kevin, imagine my surprise when the elevator door opened – me and my not heavy but awkward box, my colleague M with the dolly that refused to take corners well; we took turns with that and the box – and there you were. I’ve called it a folding chair when I tell this in person, but I don’t know what to say the chair was – nicer than a lawn chair, not folding, but the kind with spindly legs and textured plastic seat. I think. Did you even have a cushion? It was the Metro paper folded underneath – the free one. There’s very little light in the elevator.

We mentioned our surprise upon seeing you, me and M. And you responded, “Oh, I’m new, I’ve only been here since Tuesday.” It was Friday. Kevin, M and I had never taken the freight elevator, alone or together; you seemed to assume we’d known your predecessor. Or it was just another bad or awkward joke. She asked your hours. We were shocked at the – constancy of them. Eight to six, you said. Hour lunch break I assume. And every day. Who gets weekends? Or is there no health department freight on weekends?(the buttons, after all, are the pretty normal push-‘em kind, you know).

When we got back on the elevator, I remembered your name – M was impressed. How many men living in boxes does she know?
Name, man, elevator.

Market, N'djamena, Tchad

07 December 2011

Recursive in print

Addendum: By comparison with my other friends in other grad schools, I've often felt like a very lazy student. Like I'm not working much at all. And then I realize - if I add the hours of writing, the hours-upon-hours per poem, the reading of poetry - it could even be more. But I don't count that as work. It's what I want to be doing, anyway.

(approx one week ago - true, then. don't hate it today. more to write, soon)

Some days, I hate that I’m a poet.

As I’ve said before, it’s not a choice. Do I wish I were…a novelist? a journalist? a documentary filmmaker? an influential blogger?
Maybe, maybe, I could do the things I want to do, then.
Thing is, I’m a poet.
And today, I hate that.

I was speaking with one of the program admins/alums today, turning in poems for a scholarship application. She asked me if I like the program (MFA) better than med school. I replied with a decisive “No.” What I didn’t say, the background voice, is that I think I like med school better.