Posted in Unexpected

Speaking Out of Turn

Just before graduation
from learning the fundamentals of business
a guest lecture from a successful entrepreneur.
He speaks of his achievement
good business practices – yes
but also luck, slave hours and his wife’s support.
For conclusion
he talks of a topic not in the curriculum
of job loss
swift, unexpected and brutal – it happened to him.

The teaching staff shift awkwardly
today is about backslapping
proclamation of futures unlimited.
The rules have been broken
this will be his only appearance.

He attempted to maintain a normal life
colleagues avoided him
made excuses
friends always had urgent engagements – elsewhere.
people acted as if it were contagious
he began to believe it was.

Even now, a decade and many accolades later
he still feels the emptiness and humiliation of
writing letters
typing résumés
waiting in corridors
of hoped for phone calls.
Of unemployment.

With quiet authority and deep conviction he asks
if we have the opportunity to recruit staff
we consider those without jobs.
It scratched his soul he said
the scars have never quite gone away.

The Course Director rushes thanks.
Unfortunately there is no time for questions
but everyone is welcome to stay for drinks.



Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.