Interviews, A Poem

hopper new-york-office
New York Office, Edward Hopper  1962  Oil on canvas 

Me, waiting for the bus at the cold bus stop.
Me, waiting for the BART at the dark BART stop.
Me, waiting to cross the street – 

But am I even standing at the right intersection?
A sleepy old woman looks like she knows the place,
“Where is Sutter St., ma’am?”

“Oh!” the dormant woman comes alive
and rambles on as the light changes twice
before she directs me down the wrong street.

Me, waiting in the elevator to the 37th floor,
where I am through the waiting room door,
because I have done the right thing and arrived fifteen minutes early.

Me, waiting until my stomach knots itself so many times there is nothing else for it to do but release and begin again.
Me, waiting fifteen minutes more

The man is on the phone
Or perhaps waiting for someone else to call him back.

Me, waiting, memorizing my spare resume
While the receptionist types away,
While balding men and shiny interns –
my predecessors – come my way and stride away.

Me, I wait thirty minutes for a twenty-minute interview.

Me, waiting for the BART again,
for my stomach and brain to calm again,
for the cold feeling in my fingers to go away.

I am always waiting for the weather to turn warm again.

Now I am waiting for the phone to ring,
a phone call, a message, anything,
from a strange number because I refuse to save their damn numbers.

Me, waiting for ‘experience’,
for a steady stream of small paychecks,
so I can tell the teller, “Deposit, please.”

Me, waiting for the time to pass,
for the dimes and pennies to amass,
So that one day I might not
have to wait again for anything.

Also (written five years later):

After the Job Interview
On Not Getting the Job
How to Ace the Job Interview (Getting a Job)
On Getting Fired 

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