I want to thank all the wonderful poets who allowed us to post their poetry on Arthur while I was the Poetics Editor. I had a wonderful time reading the work and comments and helping bring a poetic flavor to the content posted here. Many people asked me how I was chosen for this position and I tell them it was my resume. When asked to provide more color I refer them to my resume which I’ve posted here.
Thanks to everyone for a great ride into the world of Arthur poetry.
To use my skills for an aware and growing company and inspire my co-workers with strong work ethic and friendly attitude.
Lawn Service: Just like every kid I went around to different houses asking if I could mow their lawn for a few bucks.
Auction Ring: I’d deliver food and drinks to cowboys for tips while they worked cattle in the hot pens all day. Once I was on the catwalk and tossed a can of soda to one of the men, but I didn’t throw it far enough and it bounced off a steel bar and hit the man in the face. Blood gushed from his eye and it started swelling. He insisted it was okay, but didn’t tip me.
Door to Door Salesman: Sold greeting cards and cans of cookies from a catalogue in my neighborhood, but forgot to write down who’d ordered what and my grandmother had to go to every house with me and explain what happened.
Lone Star BBQ: While my boss was teaching me the correct way to cut brisket he told me he shot his father to death.
David’s Grocery: My friend, Jordan, used to get blow-jobs from the check-out girls behind pallets of soda while I restocked shelves.
Lakeside Advertising: Sold ad space to various businesses, but forgot to turn in the checks one day, lost them and never went back to work.
Construction: Wired houses with this old man until he started hitting on my mom.
Champions Putt-putt and Batting Cages: Was fired because I was the only one on duty and was in the batting cages when a bunch of my friends broke into the office and stole $80 in video tokens. My boss showed up, drunk, as this was happening and fired me on the spot.
Firewood Supplier: Cut down trees with a chainsaw, split wood and went with the boss to different BBQ joints in Houston to sell the wood, unload it and stack it in the back.
Movie theatre: After 4 months they changed management and I didn’t like the new people and was tired of working at a movie theatre, so I stole a 5 gallon bucket of movie trailers and left.
Lifeguard: My friend’s mother managed a country club and even though I had no idea about CPR or how to save anyone I worked two days a week until they replaced me with a trained person.
China Buffet: Was a waiter at this buffet place until Sung, the owner, cheated me out of $50. It was a great joke that every week on the work schedule he spelled Wednesday “Weeday”.
Merrill Lynch: Was PBX operator and was responsible for every incoming call going to 400 employees. I lasted a week.
Farm Hand: With a hand hook I’d toss square bales of hay onto the back of a moving truck in the sun for 10 hours a day at .10 cents a bail.
Subway Sandwiches: Was a “sandwich artist” until the boss found out after I’d close up me and a bunch of friends would play hockey in the parking lot, make outrageous sandwiches, drink beer and fill “free sandwich” cards with those yellow stamps.
M.A.R.C: Was an award winning telemarketer and donated plasma for extra cash after my shift since the blood bank was next door.
Flying Tomato: Was fired after cutting through the customer’s lawn on the way to their home to deliver a stuffed pizza. I was also on acid.
Data One: Listened to headphones while entering thousands and thousands of warranty documents from Honda. I lasted a month.
Drug Dealer: Sold acid for college book money after I spent my Pell grant on an electric guitar and a new stereo. Most of my customers were on the football team.
Mechanic’s Assistant: Changed oil in cars, swept the garage, sorted nuts and bolts and put away tools while the mechanics stood around and drank Keystone.
AMC Theatre: My manager was a lesbian nazi woman who when I didn’t hang the marquee letters just right she yelled at me so I quit.
Dr Pepper/7Up Corp.: Was administrative assistant to the Sr. VP of Marketing and did nothing except read and write stories about how shitty corporations were.
Farm Hand: Planted potatoes, cut trees for fence posts and repainted a tractor all in the name of Krishna and the chance to study a different religion.
Blue Cross/ Blue Shield: Transcribed medical charts on patients with every disease or injury known to man. Mostly colonoscopies.
Snow shovel technician: Cleared sidewalks and dug out people’s cars or mopeds until I got the flu and started drinking heavily.
American Pawn: After the boss showed me where all the “defense pistols” were hidden and seeing so many shitty and broken down people, I quit.
Machine Shop: Dipped 10 lb. metal blocks headed to the pentagon in large tubs of terrible acid. Almost killed a co-worker with a 6 inch drill bit.
Speedway Copy: Worked a copy shop where I had to wear a tie. We dubbed our boss “The Nigerian Nightmare” because he treated us so poorly and berated us every day. All of us felt like white slaves to this horrible Nigerian man.
Marriott Hotel: Got hired for the night shift at this hotel because my girlfriend worked there, but when I showed up the boss said I wasn’t dressed properly and I should go home and change into something more professional. I left and never went back.
Icicle Inc.: Cut the heads off salmon as they came down a conveyor belt while tejano music blared. My boss would stand behind me with a stopwatch to see how many heads I’d cut in a minute. Sometimes I’d get to saw the fins off 110 lb. halibut.
Creative Writing Teacher: At a teen center in the Northwest I sat around in the park writing poetry and stories with a bunch of neglected teens. They were imaginative despite their problems.
Construction: Picked up trash, bricks, wood, nails and anything else at a construction site that had finished the job. I found a good coffee thermos one day.
Driver: At a car auction I would drive cars through the auction ring so dealers could bid on them and then I’d park them again.
AAA House Painting: Was the bookkeeper for this mom and pop business until the clueless owner started asking me for business advice. I told him all this stuff, about how they needed more professional shirts and he should hire another team so they could do more houses and that I needed my own office. Mostly I would show up late and listen to my girlfriend’s radio show and eventually he fired me. He gave me a professional looking shirt as a parting gift and asked me if I wanted to buy his motorcycle for $15,000.
Seasonal Worker: Sold Christmas trees, carried them to people’s cars and tied their tree on the roof or crammed it in trunk.
Comerica Bank: Was the assistant to a wheelchair ridden investment broker. I got his files, opened his mail and drove us to lunch in his special van. Usually to Souper Salad. I was really just company in an otherwise boring office.
House Sitter: I lived in this rich Canadian’s house in Costa Rica until we got in an argument one day and he demanded I leave immediately and pay him $20 dollars for the 2 months I’d been there. He was so furious he threatened to sick his dog on me and my girlfriend, but we’d already become friends with the dog.
Bookstore worker: Stood around and sold books until I was moved to the receiving department. I hated receiving so much I simply walked out one day.
Farm Hand: Built and painted fence on a ranch in Wyoming and gutted a 1978 Cadillac to get it ready for a destruction derby contest.
Nissan: Was the production assistant for 4 execs until one of my co-workers kept messing with me, saying I’d be working there for the rest of my life and to show him up I walked out and never returned. A year later, to the day, I called him up to say hello. I knew he’d still be there and he was.
Party Promoter: Threw raves and rock shows in an old Masonic temple until I realized it wasn’t worth the money since the cops and fire inspectors were coming down on me pretty hard. My best security guy getting thrown back in prison had something to do with it too.
Nut Picker: Me and a bunch of people went to a macadamia nut farm because we heard they’d give you $2.50 for every sack of nuts you’d pick, but when we got there all the nuts had been picked and most of us didn’t even get a bag full. We made around $10 between the 5 of us and bought a 12 pack.
Tilt Video Arcade: After I beat every character 3 times in a row on Virtual Fighter 2 there was really no point in my working at this place any longer.
Old Navy: I thought it’d be a great idea to drive 20 miles to work in a clothing store. After 3 days of being late they let me go. It wasn’t “the Old Navy way”.
Guitar Promotions: I stood in Cost Co. and played guitar in front of a pallet of guitars. I was told to convince customers they should buy a great guitar at a wholesale price. Mostly, I watched a Cuba Gooding, Jr. movie about dog sledding about 100 times on the television nearby.
Maintenance Man: Worked on the softball field at Texas Women’s University until I fell asleep in the backroom while it rained and the boss caught me.
Waiter: At a small Italian restaurant I waited on rich people with expensive taste in wine until I saw the chef drooling, from lack of sleep, into the croutons. The best thing was that we’d drink nice wines in the cellar the whole time we worked.
Magazine Peddler: Tried to peddle 3 different underground poetry magazines at the weekly farmer’s market in LA and made absolutely no money.
Hatchet Resort: Was a housekeeper and did ground maintenance at this mountain resort until 3 girls came through and asked me if I wanted to go the Rainbow Gathering in Idaho so I took the $40 dollars I had and never looked back.
Short Order Cook: By the time I could handle all the incoming orders it became impossible to stand the way the owner verbally abused his wife, so I quit.
Coffee Shop: Made espresso, Italian sodas, etc. and worked the cash register until the place went out of business.
Dolly Madison Driver: At 4:30 in the morning some guy was showing me how to drive the delivery truck and happened to slip and say they require you to work 60-70 hours a week. I told him I needed some coffee and got in my car and left.
Security Guard at a Concert: Was fired after someone saw me letting people in for money after the concert had sold out.
Quality Windows and Siding: Convinced people walking through Sam’s Club they should consider windows and aluminum siding because the shit was space-age and never needed painting. I eventually became manager, hired my friends and worked 2 hours a week, but told the boss I was working 25. This lasted a few months until he started catching on and I quit.
Counter top and sink wholesaler: I told this place I was an accountant so they hired me as one. I was okay at it, but they were doing lots of illegal stuff that made it difficult. One day the boss called me to his office and told me I smelled bad so I quit.
*References upon request.
This is from Travis Catsull’s latest book, “Death of An Image and Other Poems” that can be purchase here.
The poetry continues @ Haggard and Halloo Publications.