Construction Literary Magazine

Fall 2019

Overheard Elocutions from the Job Fair Seminar at the Marriott Hotel

Overheard Elocutions from the Job Fair Seminar at the Marriott Hotel
Photograph via Flickr by See-ming Lee

Don’t look directly in their eyes unless you want them to hire you or bury you; look
                 just below, in that soft muddle of flesh
                 that speaks of sleeplessness and regret.

Wear the best suit you can afford, but know that you can’t afford a suit good enough
                 until they hire you; become resolved
                 that death is always in the office two doors down.

Don’t sit next to Ken. Yes, the guy in the red sweater vest at the table near the front
                 desk. They put Ken there to watch him
                 closely. Never ask why; you don’t want to know.

Eat garlic after the interview.

When the afternoon keynote speaker says, Be yourself! or Be who you want to be!, know
                 his father never loved him either. Know he sleeps
                 with married women because he doesn’t like the feeling

                                 of his own skin.

Ken isn’t the real name of the man in the red sweater vest.

Smile often.
Remember to breathe.
Never cancel an appointment.
When fucking someone in the coat room of the club next door, don’t make eye contact
          unless you want them to bury you.

Don’t refer to the hiring committee as a regime.

Wash your hands, both before and after, no matter what it is.

If you eat a bear claw after eight in the morning, your future is hibernation.

If you hold your hand against the hotel window, you can feel the river’s undercurrent,
                 but if you touch the tip of your tongue to the glass,
                 you will know the taste of death’s reflection.

Answer questions about your love life in every language
you don’t know.

Give yourself permission to suffer.

Remind yourself that everyone in the room has never forgiven someone.

Dying isn’t the worst punishment. Daylight doesn’t exist. Ghosts and trees love
          all children.

The morning keynote speaker will be drunk by noon and have made more money than most of us
                 will this year. She will tell you she likes fucking
                 in the coatroom, but calls everyone


The morning keynote speaker is a virgin.

Damp hands are the most difficult mathematics.

Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow is a new day.
Tomorrow is a…

Let go.

Most of us will die before anyone really knows who we are.
Shadows frighten more
than the real thing.

Don’t drink from a straw, even if the waiter puts it in your water. Have faith
in the power of good coffee. Drink it black.

                 Keep your pistol holstered
                 if that’s your thing.

If Ken-who’s-not-Ken looks at you directly, call the motel manager.

Close your eyes, picture this place empty. It’s just you here. It always has been.