To Make a Living
{An Umbrella Special Feature}

Paul Siegell

has contributed to 5AM, SAWBUCK, and OTOLITHS, among others, and is forthcoming in Coconut and the 2008 Anthology of Younger Poets.  His manuscripts,  jambandbootleg and Poemergency Room, are currently calling out, “Whooo ’s got my publisher?” while strolling a concert parking lot with their pointer fingers in the air.  

Paul wrote this bio in his fluorescent-lit cubicle in the corner of the promotions department at a newspaper. And somewhere in all this, Jambands-dot-com named Paul’s ReVeLeR @ eYeLeVeL June 2007 Fan Site of the Month.

—Back to Work Poetry Contents—

Re: Cover Letter

To Whom,

It may concern you      that I came
this (=) close to           tattooing

my résumé

upon the thigh of a     stolen old mannequin’s leg,
with something of a,      “Now that I’ve got my

paw in the door,”

but please accept this     email ink of, hope-
fully, a diff’rent ilk     instead. (It’s much less

horrifying.) Bio attached. Thank you.

Very Respectfully Yours,

Mr. Just Kidding


Thursday with Thoughts of Ditching

The curbside splash won’t hit you here
Because the taxis aren’t pressing hard enough.

It’s the buses you’ve gotta dodge. Ev’ryone’s
In each others’ way, or getting out of it to open

Office building doors, then push ^ buttons on time.
How many of us, once inside, go invisible via email?

How many of us feel like the mice we slide around?
As effective as your favorite yoga position, a breath:

Here she comes, like “oil on canvas” with beaded
Necklace and headphones. No oversized sunglasses

This morning, just stiff, cloudless readers over reticent
Eyes shot up Walnut Street—Good morning, girl going

The other way. Loveliness girl at which I try not to stare.
Be well in whatever cubicle you’ll illuminate
—But then I

Disarm my jacket, go inside and “S’up?” the chill security
Guard. OUT OF SERVICE. A slice of electric tape masks

The sixth floor button in the elevator. Tender. Like the way
Rittenhouse clears out when it’s raining, it’s all a call and

Response. Too bad there’s another car up. Sometimes
I wish the letters of my keyboard were ice cubes.


In the Elevator, Friday 5:30

Glass already drained by half,

Mike says, “This moment, right
now, is the farthest away we’ll be
from Monday morning.”

And then it completely empties.


19th & Delancey

a gate: the ninety-degree spiraled design of a wrought iron guardian.
an alley: brick walls of narrow perspective receding between buildings.
a leak: draining out from pipe in back towards sidewalk in a slow stream.
a catcher: walking home from job frustration, but stopping, dress shoes
in liquid, facing west, eyes squinted on alley of sunset lit and liquid lane
and bricks aglow in direct celestial presence: stunned how one gets out

late, yet just in time.