“I want to be a garbageman”

For today’s prompt, write a work poem. For some folks, writing is work (great, huh?). For others, work is teaching, engineering, or delivering pizzas. Still others, dream of having work to help them pay the bills or go to all ages shows. Some don’t want work, don’t need work, and are glad to be free of the rat race. There are people who work out, work on problems, and well, I’ll let you work out how to handle your poem today.

Garbage Truck“I want to be a garbageman,”
said my five-year-old self
when asked about growing up.
I did not want to be a firefighter
or policeman or an astronaut
and certainly not a poet!

I’d like to claim early recognition
of the global waste problem
and the benefits of recycling
but I just wanted to ride
the truck on the outside.

Before they grew giant claws,
roamed the morning streets,
guided by lonely men
in climate controlled cabins,
my ideal occupation
involved clinging to the behemoth,
like Ahab lashed to the white whale,
beckoning young boys to their doom.

Note: I acknowledge that the image of Ahab lashed to the white whale came not from Herman Melville’s novel but instead the 1956 film version of Moby Dick starring Gregory Peck, directed by John Huston and screenplay by Ray Bradbury, whom I credit with making this one of the few cases where the movie outdoes the book and that image of the dead Ahab beckoning to his crew has always stuck with me.

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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