Poem-a-Day - "Dream Job" by Nicole Connolly

July 1, 2024 

Dream Job

Nicole Connolly

Editorial Assistant.  Executive Assistant. Administrative Assistant. Writing
Center Director.  Writing Teacher. Receptionist.  Poetry Fellow.  Technical
Writer.  Barista.  Waitress.  Applying  for three jobs a day  doesn’t get me a
job.  I get an offer from the diner and then the diner burns down.  I flop an
interview  at the local  Subway.  I make a couple  hundred a month writing
blogs for hotels  I cannot afford.  I write a  blog about Benjamin  Franklin’s
Ghost House.  It’s a chalk  outline in the ground where his house  was torn
down.  I have a   Ghost Life.  My friends  all get jobs.  I know  because  they
each come to  the bar with a polished eye around their neck.  The eyes can
foresee  only positive  futures.  In the future,  my  friends  eat  takeout and
rescue  a dog.  They  have children  they’ve  made  on purpose  and  call  by
fashionable  names.  I try to  look into  their job-eyes,  and  the  eyes  close
their bulbous lids.  The lids make a horrible smacking sound like someone
closing their mouth to go hmmmm—then not saying what everyone knows
they  want  to say.  Was my phone  voice too  weak?  Did my neck  look too
brittle  to hold  a  full-size job-eye?  The lease  is running  out  much  faster
than my life is. Every day,  my apartment gets one-cubic-inch smaller. The
walls  get  so short  I only have  room for the bed.  I lie there and dream of
having any real job. 

Copyright © 2024 by Nicole Connolly. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 1, 2024, by the Academy of American Poets. 

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“This poem is essentially about the personal madness of unintentional unemployment. Life moves forward, and it seems everyone else moves forward with it while you are regressing. Your previous accomplish-ments are nothing unless validated by an employer. You try to preserve your savings as a buffer against destitution (but still must spend); your routine (and all of its healthy habits) decays; and your dreams and ideals become increasingly senseless against the machinations of capitalism. At least that was the case for me, tragically unemployed after graduate school.”
—Nicole Connolly

Nicole Connolly
Nicole Connolly is a technical analyst and lives in Phoenix. 
“After Graduate School” by Valencia Robin
read more
“Money is an Energy” by Justin Marks
read more

Thanks to torrin a. greathouse, author of DEED (Wesleyan University Press, 2024), who curated Poem-a-Day for this month’s weekdays. Read or listen to a Q&A about greathouse’s curatorial approach and find out more about our Guest Editors for the year.
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This summer, write with Chancellor Diane Seuss

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