9 to 5 Poetry Project, Poem 2: Plastic Shoulders

Hey there, internet people. I actually worked the 9 to 5 shift today, so my feet are sobbing and my brain can’t remember what life is like when I’m not putting clothes back where they go, but I still managed to produce poem number 2 today. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Plastic Shoulders

It feels like molestation.
Tired fingers slip beneath fabric,
To caress the black shoulders
Of a hanger that pretends
It’s an upscale mannequin.
Pink shellac glints bright
Under the florescent light.

I tug away clothing, leave
The shoulders bare, exposed
To unforgiving light.
Mock human arms seem to crave
Such bareness.
Their metal hooks snag off-white lace,
As I try to slip new coverings
On plastic skin that dreams
Of refracting discount store sunlight.

Note: This one, I hope, doesn’t take itself all too seriously. But at work we have these awkward thick black hangers that are shaped like disembodied shoulders, and they have little clips at the bottom of them to hold pants and thereby make an “outfit.” Those clips make it darn near impossible to change the clothes on them, but as sportswear coordinator I have to do it all the time. So I got to thinking, “What if these hangers had feelings?” And this poem was born in my head while I struggled with them.

~Confused about what’s going on? Check out the project’s intro post for details!~


Welcome to the 9 to 5 Poetry Project!

Hello hello, internet people! It’s been a bit, I know, but apparently the adjustment from college life to this mythical creature they call “real life” is kind of hard. Who knew? Between finding a “real job” and looking for a “real apartment,” I’ve barely had time to breathe, let alone blog!

I’ve got a lot of exciting things lined up for next year (including the start of my AmeriCorps term and the very exciting move-out-of-parent’s-house moment), but for the summer I’m clocking my 9 to 5 in the same old retail job I’ve had for the last four years.

Starting last week, I’ve been filling in as a full time “coordinator” (person in charge of a particular department), while our usual sportswear coordinator undergoes surgery and recovery (kind thoughts and wishes for her are appreciated). This means more money and more responsibility, but it also means I’ve been spending a lot more time under the glamorous florescent lights and the “broken” air conditioning of a discount retail store.

Needless to say, this has been cutting into the amount of time I’ve spent writing. What can I do to fix this? I wondered, and the answer came to me in the form of one of the Poem a Day emails. This one featured a cashier’s poetry project in which she wrote a poem sparked by the first item she scanned every day. Pretty cool, right? So I thought, Why not try something similar to make being at work a little more interesting?

We all know I’m no poet, but I’ve been meaning to give the thing a go since refining my poetic skills and learning to write under stricter space constraints will definitely benefit my prose writing. To that end, I’ll be starting a poetry project just in time for July, wherein each day I will choose either the first or most memorable task I complete at work during that day and write a poem that is sparked from or centered around that task in some way.

Be gentle, as this is an experiment. I’m not claiming poetic genius here, but merely sharing ideas from my brain. I’ll be posting the poems the day of whatever task inspires them, so I ask that you view them as the first drafts that they are.

Finally, I invite you to share with me in your comments–write a poem about your job (part time or otherwise), share a comment about a particularly weird or irritating day, anything. Constructive criticism and comments about my “poetry” is also welcome, but let’s keep it classy and friendly, okay?

Hello, and welcome to my 9 to 5 Poetry Project! Expect the next post to be Poem #1! I hope you enjoy my work.