This Basic Sonnet is inspired by the list made by painter Agnes Martin, whose own menial, often oddball jobs provided her with the boredom she needed to be creative.
I have worked:
- As a salesgirl at a crystals shop in a bird park.
- As a waitress just once.
- As a volunteer dog-walker.
- In a cat hospital, at an animal shelter.
- Teaching someone the International Phonetic Alphabet.
- As an au pair.
- As a freelance writer for a prepper website.
- As a volunteer facilitator for special needs kids.
- As an on-and-off writer for a travel company.
- In a witch’s costume, promoting a Disney Channel movie.
- As kidtrepreneur, selling shitty microwaved candles to my neighbours.
- As a gift wrapper in a children’s toy shop.
- As a user experience designer.
- As an intern at the national museum, putting labels on ancient taxidermied animals.
I remember, in December 1996,
Christmas lights were killer that year!
They overloaded the circuit,
Blew the fuse with high-wattage cheer.
They don’t make ’em like that anymore.
Nowadays it’s those cool, efficient ones that don’t emit heat.
Perfect holiday fire insurance.
Seriously, hazardous things (as pretty as they were),
Lights shivering as if it were winter
Short-circuiting oven before we got the lamb in,
Something burning (not the gammon).
Why – I ask annually –
did we make the entire household trip,
for the sake of something pretty?