James Tate, p.6


     It’s hard work and the pay is low, but at
least you get to hang out with a bunch of nasty,
bitter people. So I took the job. The first
week I thought I’d die. I couldn’t stop my hands
from bleeding, and my legs could barely hold me
up. The second week my eyes were blurred and I
couldn’t keep my food down. By the fourth week
I was beginning to like it. I felt strong. After
a year I felt nothing. I didn’t know my name,
I didn’t know where I was. Whatever it was I
was supposed to do got done, but I don’t know how.
Then I met Deidre in the cafeteria and she said,
“Mr. President, you’re doing a great job.” “What
did you call me?” I said. “Mr. President,” she
said. “How time pisses away,” I said. “I can
hear the birdies singing.” My eye was on the