“Who Do You Work For,” “HOV” & “Old Light” by Ryan Eckes

Flowers in a red gasoline can against a grey background and a pale full moon

Who Do You Work For

a speck of truth in a drop of almost anything, love sucked thru a straw

empty lots

the sudden main character, a bed of sand

i run my hand thru my hair

smoke born in fish

patches of lawn i forgot to cut

letters falling off the stone 

of your face

let the songs be songs

the walls grow veins

your boss will never love you

ask me a better question

do you know what money is when it’s talking

virtue is envy, a saw in one’s head

water runs thru the walls

i can’t fight every bruise that follows me

i can hardly believe my eyes

fear of work is called desire

sun up, i look for someone to abandon me

there’s no one—everyone’s working for someone else


i keep getting ads to be an uber driver, which reminds me of a term i learned in chile 
for adjunct professors—los profesores taxis—and a poem by russell edson in which 
a taxi driver turns into canaries as his car flies thru a wall and back out again. that’s 
where i’m at, jobwise. a cluster of canaries flying toward you. in chile, students started 
evading subway fares and it turned into a rebellion. now their government has to 
rewrite the constitution. in the u.s., fascists are wearing t-shirts that say “pinochet 
did nothing wrong.” republicans and democrats have long agreed. so has the ny times: 
capitalism is the only way, they say, and some apples are bad. so the government keeps 
killing black people and jailing those who fight back. every employer encourages you 
to vote. your employer is running against your employer. how are you getting home 

Old Light

the first thing to look for in a suit is your last day of work
how to take it off and for whom
when to slow the line, unchained 
melody, real flowers out of pretend 
flowers, perfect skull of moon

wide years of obscene radiance splitting 
each season further into seasons 
of distinct pleasure, eyes in your heart
to live so much the edges of paradise 
stop typing, wild flowers out of gas

when they say “in your spare time” 
before the sentence ends untie
it w/ your tongue or hand, keeping
meaning away from the real estate 
leeches of nobody’s boulevard
these are the oranges of consciousness
blooming outside the rusted husk 
of the employer’s mission
when the sun licks your wall
that means make people free

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Ryan Eckes is a poet from Philadelphia. His most recent books, General Motors, Fine Nothing and Wet Money, can be downloaded for free from Internet Archive. He edits Radiator Press.

Chelsea Dirck is an illustrator, musician, and maker-of-things who lives in the Hudson Valley. They like dogs, line drawings, and organizing small objects.
For more of their work visit www.chelseadirck.com or follow them on Instagram @chelsea.dirck.