Monday, April 25, 2011

The Anti-Resume

My friend, Paul Hamill, an accomplished and erudite chap, is a published poet and all-round litterateur.  His e-mails frequently include samples of his latest poems, and I very much enjoyed the specimen below, particularly as I have touched on the topic in another place. Not to mention that, for the nonce, I seem to have run dry myself.


In the darkened faculty building late at night
Professor Witlow pulled her resume
In wonder and dismay at the parade
Of entries, thinking: A senile king’s toy army:
Degrees, positions, papers, talks, a swamp
Of committees, and last, her eminent referees,
An Old Guard smiling on a mind’s regalia.

She thought: We all have anti-resumes 
And by meticulous habit laid hers out.
Where would one start? Too-early weaning? Her mother
Blamed it for forty years if daughter whined.
Her envy of her brothers? The eighth grade boy
Who cupped her breast?  Great teachers?  Family lies
Laid bare by an aunt’s death?  Marriage? Breakup?
Though none would ever see, she marched them past:
The Page of Fearful Vulnerabilities.
A Page of Stupid Choices. A section, Luck
With Friendships.  Items called, Mother Told You.
Silliest Moments, Shames Still Burning, Ways
I Disappointed.   The hard-to-edit Hotter
Than You Might Think.  A short list, Deaths That Changed
Everything; and last, the Log of Worst Betrayals.  

She thought of the old term professors use,
Curriculum Vitae: life’s little running-track,
The roster of what holds tenure in the soul.       

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