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Poetry Prompts

Monday Poetry Prompt: Job

This week let’s write an on-the-job poem. It could be about the worst job or the best job you’ve ever had. You could also write about your dream job. If you need some inspiration, check out this list of odd jobs. Post your occupational therapy in the comments below.


About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.


25 thoughts on “Monday Poetry Prompt: Job

  1. This prompt really posted such wonderful work. I am really impressed that people can write long pieces, as my poor, stressed out brain can only handle short concepts.

    Everyone has a place at this table

    Catholic University employs its own facility staff
    Grounds keepers
    Security officers

    Their service is honored at the same time as tenured professors

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by Second Act Blogger | December 3, 2021, 4:20 PM
  2. I took the blue pill
    and leave for work at 7:20AM
    with traffic, I’ll only be 5 minutes late

    21 S1s on the queue
    I calm the fears of those
    who’s production system were down all night
    and momentarily sate the corporately connected
    with sweet assertions of
    “The fix will be available by noon”

    Snow flakes begin to fall outside
    beyond the windows
    across the cube farm
    dance through the branches of the bare trees
    as I think of what the red pill might have brought

    There’s a new fire on the queue
    and the conference call has 13 participants
    waiting for me to call in
    the expert
    a matter of life and death
    (or at least the bonus of the CIO)
    for the mid-market company
    that is now
    the most important thing in the world

    the snow stops

    Liked by 3 people

    Posted by Chris Clarke | December 3, 2021, 10:44 AM
  3. Still getting untangled from @ts19page’s compelling offering. Thanks for that. Here’s my (somewhat belated) response to the prompt.

    This Company

    This company is all about…
    So we tell ourselves.

    This company…
    This corporation?
    This chartered colony?
    This armed division?
    This talented troupe?

    Corporations are people –
    So the courts tell us.
    So it’s no surprise that
    Searching for an identity takes
    So much time.
    We are what we (you) can (will) pay for,
    Clones of the creator
    Shining on a shelf down the aisle.
    Pragmatic, profitable belonging.

    There’s a cause and a message to work for –
    So say our evangelists.
    So since you’ve seen (more or less)
    The same light as me
    It seems safe to suppose that,
    Though we dwell amongst savages,
    We’re all civilized here.
    Nevermind what called you from the motherland.
    Presumed, projected belonging.

    The enemy is strategically advancing –
    So our intelligence reports.
    So lock and load and cover my six.
    The threat is (seems) real
    That some hostiles (peers) are gonna
    Blow us up with a better mousetrap.
    Can you handle having the
    Carnage of jobs and families on your conscience?
    Pressured, pernicious belonging.

    The show must go on –
    So the producers insist,
    So grit your teeth in a seething smile
    And get in costume:
    A professional patina papering over
    Your petulant palpitations (see the pulsing cracks?).
    The soul of this soulful soirée is
    Limp and desiccated backstage.
    Partitioned, performed belonging.

    Bad company corrupts good morals.
    Careful the company you keep.
    Vocation is
    Gifted to,
    Interpreted by,
    Accomplished within,
    Displayed for
    This company.

    Liked by 2 people

    Posted by LEWiS | December 3, 2021, 8:17 AM
    • I like this work, with its use of double meanings and its attack on corruption set against the pervasive need for work and its uncomfortable fit with the noble life. It is almost tragic to see how well the image of war and battle fit the description of hordes marching toward more production. Especially rewarding is the ‘professional patina pasted…etc..’ The ‘..dwell among savages..’ is particularly good, even better the ‘..never mind what called you from the motherland..etc.’ “ ..Shining on a shelf down the aisle..’ is powerful! and of course the repetition of the call for belonging which underwrites so much of the poem. Read with appreciation.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by ts19page | December 3, 2021, 9:19 AM
    • Wow. Another epic. Love the alliteration in the penultimate stanza. Well done!


      Posted by Bartholomew Barker | December 3, 2021, 5:10 PM
  4. my worse job ever
    was working for red hell boss
    an addict of sorts
    looking for enablers when
    his main one left his foul side

    the rage he gave out
    became daily dosed to me
    when she came back home
    he turned his rage back to her
    we cleaned up the office floor

    have you ever seen
    expensive computers thrown
    on the floor like trash
    I left the garbage bin, fast
    enraged, he plotted revenge

    I will never take
    a job where a friend left as
    soon as I started
    now I know why she was quick
    to run out the swinging door

    Liked by 3 people

    Posted by Lisa Tomey | November 29, 2021, 9:05 AM
    • Ack! That sounds awful. Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by Bartholomew Barker | November 29, 2021, 7:32 PM
      • Strollers in the Parks of Kali

        The young run after meaning,
        like a thirsty man after an ice cream truck
        a dollop against nothingness,
        sweet, at first bite, then wet and cold.

        Children, those who lead like angels,
        are running, deep inside we are running
        yelling for I scream,
        you scream, we all scream for ice cream.

        Group identity is paramount because
        Its all we have.
        anything else would be too deep to dig for,
        golden shovel or not.

        Gold bends, and would not be rare
        were it not scarce.
        The earth yielded 35 million dollars of
        gold since we first dug down.

        Other planets in our solar system
        don’t have gold,
        which is why we don’t brave the cold
        of space to get there.

        We wait for a worm tunnel
        which means we are prudent,
        okay with worminess,
        and inevitability.

        You can see wormholes everywhere,
        when you are nearly ninety
        having received inner vision,
        better late than never.

        Yet soon you will be set high on a pyre
        and burned to the birds of the hot wind,
        who know how to dodge the flames
        and have a taste for suttee.

        Buddha was better than Kali
        once again the female gets the devil’s part,
        As well as the Mother role
        marked by bouquets in May.

        Who cares about motherhood anymore,
        young men are better at nurturing now,
        pushing strollers with one child in
        and one on the chest.

        To the park they go, dog on a leash.
        The invisible leash around their necks
        sings Kali’s songs of virtue in their ears,
        makes them feel more real than ever.

        Other sirens have lost their allure,
        testosterone decreases in the presence
        of diapers, and yet
        niceness still nets corpses.

        Wives wear suits, hail cabs,
        and bring home chopsticks to go
        with the ginger flavored stuff in boxes;and yet
        niceness still nets corpses.

        They all admire themselves very much,
        happy having proved the point
        their war-fighting fathers could not prove-
        that to hold a baby is the real job.

        Old soldiers returned,
        who got out of bed to soothe
        the child’s bad dream,
        that one who had met death in the face,

        Was not enough. Never loved you enough,
        impossible to love you enough.
        Love me enough. Enough.
        Love me More.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by ts19page | November 30, 2021, 1:26 PM
      • Wow. That’s an epic stream of consciousness. Thanks for sharing!


        Posted by Bartholomew Barker | November 30, 2021, 5:02 PM
      • Thank you for the feedback, appreciated.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by ts19page | December 2, 2021, 8:48 AM
      • It was. Just glad it is over and I “think” he got better.

        Liked by 1 person

        Posted by Lisa Tomey | December 6, 2021, 11:05 AM
    • I can see the graphic novel that goes with this. Such vivid pictures, apt rhythm and pace. I almost got hit on the door’s in-swing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by ts19page | December 3, 2021, 10:58 AM
    • I can see the graphic novel that goes with this. Such vivid pictures, apt rhythm and pace. I almost got hit on the door’s in-swing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Posted by ts19page | December 3, 2021, 10:59 AM
    • Yimminy!


      Posted by JeanMarie | December 4, 2021, 11:17 PM

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