Best of the Net 2013  

The Job Market

You are like losing a bet to an evil guy
who, all evil like, makes you lie down
on the highway for three passing vehicles.
One car passes. Miss.
The second car drives over you,
but you are between the wheels.
And then the third, the third is a motorcycle,
and you are like, Yes! A motorcycle.
My chances are good. But the biker
lines you up and runs over one of your
feet, and breaks it. And as you howl
in pain, the motorcycle man flips off
his bike and into a brick wall.
And you stand and fall and scream,
knowing town is far,
and the motorcycle guy is dead,
and you would feel guilty,
but his motorcycle could explode any minute
and there is not even a twig to use for a crutch.
You drag yourself and drag yourself
and then, on the horizon, a light appears
in a building where all these people want to help you,
they want to help you so bad. But we're not
medical doctors, they say. And then, a lot of
very handsome young men and women
come in and say that they could really use
some beer could you buy us some beer?
And there are loud intermittent bells
that seem to take hold of the sky
and shake it so that it drops
howling bottles of thumbtacks
and rubbing alcohol exploding on your mangled
foot, which is starting to smell like pissed-on tires,
and you are about to pass out,
and oblivion's red lips are puckered for a big long kiss,
and the world begins to pale —
there's a rose in the sun,
it's beautiful, it's beautiful...
But then some guy in a tie is yelling:
Wake up, Son! Wake up, Son!
You have to pull it together, son. You have so
many forms, you have so many forms
to fill out and file with me.
You have to prepare yourself. You have to be ready.

And then it dawns on you, after the many hills
and the many rains, that you will have to stay here
on the ground with a broken foot.
And you don't know when it happened,
but you have an arrow in your ass.

- Dan Chelotti (from iO: A Journal of New American Poetry)