RSS Feed

“On the Spectrum”

.
…………………………ON THE SPECTRUM
.
…………………………Someday he hopes to get a job at the station
…………………………serving buttered hard rolls and coffee
…………………………to all the jaywalkers who wander in,
…………………………unable to look him straight in the eye;
.
…………………………and selling lottery tickets to the high school
…………………………hall monitor before she drives to work,
…………………………knowing that her odds of winning are as slim
…………………………as any chance he’d ever be promoted;
.
…………………………and stocking store shelves with emergency
…………………………supplies of cat and dog food. Once a week
…………………………at least, the local poet who lives alone
…………………………shuffles in to buy a box, or two, or three.
.
…………………………Not to mention the unknown multitudes
…………………………who stop outside to pump their gas, tracking
.………………………..those rolling numbers. Oh! what a spectrum
…………………………he’d be a part of, if only he worked at the station.
.
.
.
.
…………………………by Therese L. Broderick
.
.
.
Writer’s Statement — This piece is an invented fiction-in-verse, composed in response to prompt #92 on ReadWritePoem. The prompt was a list of words, only one of which appears explicitly in the text below: “multitudes.”  Other prompt words implicit in the text are “conform,” “remedy,” “pittance,” and “scofflaw.” This version of the poem benefited from the feedback of local first readers MM, JG, and JH. (A longer artist’s statement appears as the first comment below.)
.
.

About ThereseLBroderick

Independent community poet living in Albany, New York USA.

23 responses »

  1. ARTIST’S STATEMENT ABOUT THE POEM
    .
    Fact & Fiction~~
    .
    This poem is an invented fiction-in-verse: that is, I do not know any people exactly like those described in this poem. The station is a composite of all the gas station mini-markets I’ve been in. I included a poet in order to make the poem’s tone sound less judgmental; that is, I want someone like myself to be part of the spectrum, not judging people from outside of the spectrum. The title “On the Spectrum” refers not only to the rainbow of humanity, but also to people with spectrum disorders. I have sympathy for such people. Although I have never been diagnosed with any spectrum disorder (autism or Asperger’s), I do tend to be like the people in this poem: wandering through life as an introverted non-conformist; not destined to be president of any corporation; also preoccupied, sometimes, with numbers, letters, and looking at things indirectly; also a cat lover.
    .
    Sound & Sense~~
    .
    When I compose a poem, I strive to craft a passage of spoken language in which the sound is at least as alluring as the sense. I read this poem out loud to finely tune the rhythm, assonance, and consonance. Elizabeth Bishop’s “Filling Station” may be a distant influence on this poem. As mentioned above, “spectrum” has two meanings.
    .

    Like

  2. This had a great feel to it.
    Nicely done.

    Like

  3. Thanks for posting the artist’s statement, Therese; I hadn’t considered the dual meaning of “On the spectrum,” but now that you’ve mentioned it, it adds a lot to the poem.

    I love the opening stanza — actually the first three stanzas. They roll right off my tongue.

    Like

  4. Ah, the limits of aspiration, or is it really the idea that one has an aspiration at all. One that is attainable? So many of the “multitudes” have no conviction for life. Fiction-in-verse? I rather think poetic observation of humanity.
    Thanks,
    DH

    Like

  5. I like the observation of the starving local poet who is so poor
    he has to eat pet food. Or maybe the poet has cats.Something only an introverted non conformist poet person would know!

    Like

  6. That was really nice and the artist commentary is great!

    thank you for sharing

    Like

  7. Thank you for sharing! I pictured Dante from the “Clerks” movie series as someone like that convenience store worker…watching the multitudes flow in and out…outside the edges…

    -Nicole

    Like

  8. I really enjoyed this “slice of life” type story. I felt so sorry for the poor guy who wanted that awful job!

    Like

  9. I immediately thought about spectrum disorders while reading the title (as a teacher, we hear a lot about those these days). It adds a nice layer about someone longing to be a part of something that seems foreign to them

    Like

  10. Once again I like the little world you create in your poetry. For me what hung effectively over the entire poem is what you’ve said at the beginning, and remind us of at the end, that being part of this mediocre society as described is someone’s aspiration. We can only guess at his current situation, how lonely, transient,or desperate it must be that he would feel so ironically wishful about so little. Or perhaps he is one of those he wishes to be on the other side of the counter serving (and observing). Perhaps there is power in even the most menial activities if their performer uses his/her authority or expertise in the right way.

    Like

  11. well done again..and thanks for sharing…and “spectrum” took me to many places

    Like

  12. Nice filtering of the observations. It’s complete enough to make me wonder what those people would have thought, being so closely watched by someone they don’t notice.

    Like

  13. This has a wonderful flow and such strong images. The words fit well.

    Like

  14. Thanks for the artist’s statement. The imagery is wonderful.

    Like

  15. Beautifully put.

    Like

  16. I really like the idea of the word prompts informing the poem without explicitly appearing in them. I don’t know where I fit on the spectrum, but I find the poem, its characters, and their stories fascinating.

    Like

  17. I like this and I can see the guy either as someone wanting to move up or as someone wanting out of whatever corporate trap he got himself into.

    Like

  18. Hi Therese,

    My immediate thought after reading was “sad guy”! Some people aspire for very little and it never occurred to me that he may have a personality disorder. But I think David is correct in suggesting that great pride can result from doing a seemingly insignificant job well.

    Like

  19. I really like this. It reads really well and I like the inclusion of the cat food buying poet. It brings the poem down to earth in way that it wouldn’t if it was someone else.

    Like

  20. Very realistic feel to it. I like that very much.

    for a pittance, you buy that confection

    Like

  21. Really great stuff—love it.

    Multitudes has the impact you wanted it to.

    Wonderful work!

    Like

  22. I love the detail about the poet. Great work (once again!)

    Like

  23. Enjoyed reading this one

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: