The All American 9-5 Job by Frank Reardon

First they’ll claim your
youth: fair skin,
eyes that are hopeful to make
a change in the world,
and cut it from your skull
with an unclean cleaver
Then they come for your
happiness, and you’ll
compromise, after all
half of something
is better than nothing
at all. We are positive
beings, right?
Then they’ll take the other half
without asking,
and you’ll let them
because you are hungry,
willing to believe
you are as strong as an iron tank,
of surviving without it
Then they’ll come for whatever
love you’ve hidden,
and they’ll get it
when you least expect it,
like a dart from afar,
like a sniper
perched in a tree
with years of experience
and Beech Nut
dripping from his mouth
Soon after, they’ll put out
your fire,
the fat cells will grow,
the stomach: a tube,
the back: a broken mule.
insanity will be the joke,
cynicism and depression
will become the norm
Then they’ll take your body,
break it,
until the rough hands
you once had ache,
and your back
withers and snaps
with the brittle branches
And when they’re finished
with you,
when the romance
of your life is no more
than a stamped out butt
in an ashtray,
And you have to fight
to get out of bed everyday
by laughing your way out
of the sheets,
because you are half lunatic
and half confused,
they’ll no longer be interested
in having you around,
and they’ll drag your barking
body out into the woods,
put a bullet in your head,
and walk away,
with congratulatory cigars being lit,
with laughing backs turned
to you:
the corpse
rotting in the weeds,
over worked, underpaid and

Frank Reardon was born in 1974 in Boston, Massachusetts, and currently lives in Minot, North Dakota. Frank has published poetry and short stories in many reviews, journals and online zines. His first poetry collection, Interstate Chokehold, was published by NeoPoiesis Press in 2009 as well as his second poetry collection Nirvana Haymaker in 2012. His third poetry collection Blood Music was published by Punk Hostage Press in 2013. In 2014 Reardon published a chapbook with Dog On A Chain Press titled The Broken Halo Blues. Frank is currently working on more short fiction.

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