Leave Me Alone
Read Melinda Bufton's introduction to Leave Me Alone.
This is a book about ‘work’ and ‘labour’. It’s a book for receptionists, personal assistants, facilities coordinators, venue managers, customer service officers. Poetry is a dinky little thing, often done alone or ad-hoc (pro-rata …). But the issue is never work, it’s always money. ‘Can you explain this gap in your résumé’ cannot be answered with ‘I was busy writing poems’ lest you be turned away like some mad leper. These poems have been written both ‘on the clock’ and off it, however ‘off’ one can be now.
This is not a receptionist manifesto; I leave that to some enterprising young poet who has read more widely than me. I hope only that they might read this and think it funny or useful. I hope you think this book is funny and useful, and maybe it gnaws at a shared experience of work and drudgery and bureaucracy and the office. I liked my old job until I didn’t; many of these poems were written during that time of slow, waning interest. I like my job now, and a few poems were written with a bushy tail. A few are about my friends, but work is never too far away.
Lastly, I would like to note that the title of this book was stolen from David Karp’s Leave Me Alone, about a publisher in 1950s New York who moves to the suburbs. It was always meant as a working title, but I could never think of anything better.