Thursday, April 7, 2011

Time Masheen III (5:20 AM, Friday, April 7, 2000)

A Song

Shines the child
Eyes animated
The adult forgets
A troubled

I remember this poem. Not the content specifically, but that year. It was the year I worked the nightshift at Pillsbury-Hazelwood Farms, a production bakery in McMinnville. I also remember the month. I was next inline to getting a perminante position at the plant. I had worked there almost a year as Kelly Services temp. And also, it was the month that upper, upper management shut the plant down. Pillsbury-Hazelwood Farms was the second largest employer in McMinnville and they paid their workers almost as well as did the steel mill.

I remember the process of writing this poem; because it was the only poem I had written that entire calendar year following leaving graduate school. The year was dark too, because I had to deal with the failure of a dream. I have a learning disability called Centralized Audio Processor Disorder and probably a tinge of ADD too, but that was me speaking and was not the analysis of the learning specialist who diagnoised me with CAPD when I was twenty-two years old. What it means is that it takes me twice as long to learn new things as it does the average person. Point in case, it took me almost eight years to get a bachelors degree. Further, I also approach almost everything backwards perspective from the average person and make connections that are impossible to see from any other direction. What has also been my experience is that the more difficult an academic subject is the easier it is for me.Point in case two, I didn't master arithmetic or understand it till I studied abstract algebra in college. I learned poetry from studying mythology and eating ancients people's scriptures. There are still a lot of aspects of poetry that are a complete mystery to me, which makes me want to practice it all the more till I can write a poem just as proficiently as a right brained academic who has never had a problem laying a line down on the page nor has encountered any difficulties with language.

At the time when I was studying theology in grad school, it took me 100 hours to write a ten page research paper. Ten hours per page includes the research as well. Essentially, in the process of learning (at someone else's pace) I tired myself out so much so that I could not function. Fortunately, the mind numbing work of packing doughnuts, holiday fudge, and bread into boxes was a blessed relief to the overwhelming disappointment and grief that consumed me in my final semester at George Fox University. Being an educator, especially a college professor, would have been the ideal career for me, because it is in the realm of ideas where I experience a greater connection to the realm of reality.  

At 5:20 in the morning on April 7, 2000, I stole three minutes of my employer’s time. I was working with this young woman named Megan. She sang show tunes while packing frozen bread dough or frozen fried doughnuts off the belt into boxes. I noticed how her demeanor changed when she sang show tunes. She was a hard faced woman, but in this other realm all the pain of life melted away.  The engine of verbal creativity began spinning again as I hastily scribbled those words down on a scrap of paper that just happened to be in my smock with a dull golf pencil.

Me, I used to sing too, but the song I sang was Johnny Paycheck’s, “Take This Job and Shove It.”

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