14.4.12

In answer to your questions about alaska



We drove the morning
looking for houses to flip,
talking of spiral staircases
and shipping containers
while NPR asked a writer
if 'the germans' have a sense of humour.

It being springtime, people are restless,
and i'm once again being asked to explain alaska.
which is something one cannot do.
It's like the warm and smokey
lodge halfway down
a ski slope in any of the alps.
the energy and conversation
is as open and comradic
as one could ever want.

If you want to work the salmon season,
or get a job in the alaskan canneries,
or share a tent with me for its own sake,
here's my advice to you:
Don't go for the money.

and here's the advice my captain gave me
when he hired me, green, for my first season:
If you're here for the money,
and flip burgers in colorado,
chances are, you'll make more.

He told me If i got seasick
I'd have to bight the bullet
Told me he'd give me 10% of the gross
at the end of the season
and bought me a hamburger.
then had me sign a waiver
saying i'd probably get hurt
a little.

Don't go for the money.
If you want adventure,
show up and find a job.
Pound the pavement at the
docks till someone needs you.
Your life will never be the same.
Do you want to learn to roll with the punches?
bring a tent, and we can share bacon grease.
I'll show you how to open bear-safe dumpsters
and how to tell which boat's blowing black smoke toward the inlet.

You might not get a job,
and will end up throwing up,
soar and lonely.
you will also feel recklessly alive,
empowered, and more comfortable
with your body and emotions.
It's hard to take a gamble
like moving to a place without a job,
but it's the only way to do it.
bring rain boots and a book of matches.
and don't go for the money.


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