Here's a poem about working at a consumer cooperative bookstore written while I was working at a consumer cooperative bookstore. Non-poet voice: "just work places start with workers being in charge." Readers bring me back to this poem, particularly Max, a young union organizer, who asked me how I came up with vomiting gold. I don't know. That's just how it feels to give away my only life to wage labor. The location of this recording is a chair in my 'office' (never really set up--we are between more permanent places), specifically the chair where I zone out after work and try to purge the reactionary feelings work germinates in order to become something that resembles myself again.
Instead of zoning out, impulsively, I recorded this poem. I'd been trying to film in my neighborhood but the sound wasn't good so I figured what the hell. I sent two other takes at two other locations to Windfall Room. They liked this one.
Locations: Buffalo, NY. Office in our apartment on Garner Ave in the Upper West Side.
Time: 9:25 p.m. May 15, 2023. Three days before the city tore down the house two doors down.
Joe Hall is a Buffalo-based writer and co-curator of a reading series in public space. His five books of poetry include Fugue and Strike (2023) and Someone’s Utopia (2018). He has performed and delivered talks nationally at universities, living rooms, squats, and rivers. His writing has appeared in places like Poetry Daily, Best Buds! Collective, terrain.org, Peach Mag, PEN America Blog, dollar bills, and an NFTA bus shelter.