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Archive for the tag “death”

Like a Grocery Store Trout

trout png

Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, knowing nothing of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the fire beneath.

This is how I think most of us exist.  Unaware of our surroundings, except what directly affects us, and that, only if we ever are in actual contact, and hopefully with the right combination of tastes and smells that allow all to forget that we, in the big picture, are really nothing more than the stink of low tide and death.

Pick a metaphor.  Sardines in a can.  Lemmings on a cliff.  The people of Soylent Green.  Fast forwarding our way to an inglorious end, unaware, for the most part, what we are speeding toward.  That end always in sight if we only think to look.

This was me, until it wasn’t anymore.

I work a job that, in the couple hundred times I’ve tried explaining it to folks over nearly a decade, defies description.  And it’s not even the job description that defies it.  It’s not the job of Freight Runner, Certified Forklift Operator, Warehouse Night Manager, Inventory Control Specialist, Bookkeeper, and Small Parcel Courier that confuses people, it’s how the job gets paid.

The bottom of bottom lines is, I am not an employee.  I am a contractor.  This means there is no salary, no hourly wage, no insurance and paid time off.  There is only the job, or NO job.  Pay, or NO pay.  Don’t come in?  Don’t come back.  Every day for the last 8 years, 8 months, 13 days, 23 hours, and a handful of minutes and seconds, I haven’t taken a day off that didn’t cost me in docked pay.  That includes two major surgeries, bookended weekdays around weekend getaways, sick days, dentist appointments, family birthdays, national holidays, you name it. 

If I took it, I ate that day’s pay.

This also includes regularly adding duties to the job description at no additional compensation, four double-shifts per week at one flat rate, hours worked for free one night a week, as well as… now THIS is where it gets interesting… back pay stolen by the third party job broker who held my contract with the warehouse, and finally, intermittent pay cuts, just to be allowed to keep my job.  All that, and however many hours I find between the cracks to write and publish two books, and maybe mix in a nap.  Then today, one more demand for me to spend another $500 for additional licensing and commercial insuring, just to keep my job.  As I write this, I have less than three weeks until I pay, or get out.

Sometimes, we are handed a life.  Cleaned and cold, gutted, like a grocery store trout, bones in, with all the skin and scales still attached, living in the false comfort of the frying pan, and hoping only to avoid the terror of the fire beneath.

On this day, I see the frying pan for what it is, and no longer fear the fire.

Today, I decided to get out.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

End of Shift

end-of-shift-pic

Counting down the minutes till

the end of shift

is a lot like counting down the

minutes till

the end of life. 

Except you know where you’re going

when your shift ends,

and how to get there. 

You’ve planned for it. 

You even have things

waiting for you for

when you arrive,

like macaroni and cheese

and a cold beer. 

Unlike the end of your life,

when you hope there’s

a nice place for you to settle into,

that the fridge is stocked with

all your favorite things,

and that the

building management isn’t blasting

‘70s pop songs from

the speakers in the elevator

headed for the basement,

where you know the air conditioning is

sketchy at best.

 

© Copyright 2017 William S. Friday

New Year’s Fucking Eve

hny-01

We who remain

Must remember,

for those of

us who

do not. 

 

Surrender

ourselves to

the past,

and 

forget not. 

 

Find hope in the

retelling,

pain welling

in our hearts,

and eyes. 

 

Let what we lost

go, what we found

show, in

remembrance

of the good.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Lesson from a Bogus Journey

death

Death came to me,

in the middle of the night,

playing Battleship

for my soul. 

Have no fear of death,

as long as he plays his games

on your turf. 

And when he says to you,

“Best two out of three?” 

Tell him to

talk to the chain smoker

in the next aisle over.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

There Must Be Something More

more

There must be something more

than what is right in front of us. 

More than your next meal,

next crap,

next fuck. 

More than work,

more than the distractions of play. 

Traffic,

or unpaid overtime. 

Frozen dinners from Trader Joe’s,

or Wild Turkey on the rocks

to help you sleep at night. 

 

There must be something more

than what fights so hard for your attention. 

Bingeing on shows in a weekend

because you are too tired most nights

to watch just one episode at a time. 

And chasing,

always chasing whatever it is

you think will fill the hole,

complete the puzzle,

satisfy that unspoken need. 

But it isn’t really there,

because it doesn’t know your name. 

 

There must be something more

than what you’ve been told. 

More than what you haven’t been told,

or even dreamed with your

last moments of sleep before

you get up and do the same things

all over again,

until the day you can’t. 

Because you died sooner than

you were led to believe was possible. 

 

There must be something more

than what never satisfies,

always leaves you longing

or reminiscing,

or grieving.

And I would tell you what it is, 

but it doesn’t know my name either.

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

Showstopper

l-cohen

Darkness isn’t darkness if you 

look in the light

I never know when I’m gonna

feel alright

Blind for a lifetime

Now the end is in sight

Once I woulda quit

but now I’m in for the fight

Once I woulda quit

but now I’m in for the fight

So let’s all sing a 

Hallelujah tonight

Let’s all sing a

Hallelujah tonight

 

(written on November 6th, 2016, for Leonard Cohen)

 

© Copyright 2016 William S. Friday

The Road About Life

"The Road About Life" c Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

“The Road About Life” c Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

 

Nothing new

Just the usual mental misery

A fog brought on by working

like I imagine most people work

Long hours

Possibly a second job

or a third

Mine is on the road

driving

Not strenuous

just monotonous

After the first year

every road looked the same

And every conversation about life

Likewise

What the one monotony taught me about the other

The road

about life

Is that they both have an end

One expected

The other not so much

And that you should not forget that about both

Because the one seems to end too late

and the other

far too soon

But really

they both arrive right on time

Plan your trip accordingly

 

© Copyright 2015 Bill Friday

“Two for Moonday”

Two poems, read at the Moonday poetry reading, held at The Little Theater in Los Angeles on Sunday, April 20th, 2014.

They are…

 

“Clean” (formerly titled “Come Flooding Back”), and “Feet for the Callouses”

 

 

“Clean”

 

My hands smell

like dispensered soap

from the bathroom

inside Starbucks

 

Clean

like the hospital room

where my son died

all those years ago.

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

 

Followed by…

 

“Feet for the Callouses”

 

To trade this now

for another

because parts of now

make me sad

to severe an arm

for the birthmark or

feet for the callouses

 

And deny my senses

for a life of fewer lessons

curse my eyes

for the glasses

or my mouth

for the soap

that washed it out

 

To not have held

the entirety of love

against my chest then

carried it on feet

that have withstood

the weight of imperfection

but continued forward

 

And trade the scars

that gave me beauty

in the infinite tomorrow

for an empty past

of losses unremembered

is a cowardice

for fools.

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

Come Flooding Back

photo credit "We Were Strangers" c 2012 Redboy

photo credit “We Were Strangers” c 2012 Redboy

My hands smell

like dispensered soap

from the bathroom

inside Starbucks

 

clean

like the hospital room

where my son died

all those years ago.

 

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Bill Friday

“I drink coffee…”

"I drink coffee..." words and image c 2013 Bill Friday

“I drink coffee…”
words and image
c 2013 Bill Friday

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