Notes from the Breadline Roxana St Thomas.jpgEd. note: Welcome to the latest installment of “Notes from the Breadline,” a column by a laid-off lawyer in New York. Prior columns are collected here. You can reach Roxana St. Thomas by email (at [email protected]), follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook.The beauty of being unemployed in the summer is that, well, it’s summer. Rather than sitting in an office that is refrigerated to temperatures at which your summer crop of green beans could be flash frozen, you are free to roam about in flip-flops and attire that would make the most casual Friday blush modestly. But when it rains (as it has done consistently for approximately two months, here in New York), you have time to reflect on the fact that the seasons have changed, and you remain jobless.
During one recent rainy stretch, I was scowling at a half-written cover letter on my computer when the phone rang. It was Lat, who was off on an editorial boondoggle. He was someplace that sounded lovely; unlike home, he told me, the weather there was beautiful. I waited for him to tell me that people in this mythical place also had jobs, and that scones grew on trees.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Eating Mentos,” I told him, cramming candy into my mouth, “wondering whether today is the day I’ll finally shower. You know; the usual.” As an afterthought, I added, “and I’m applying for jobs. As always.”
“Your job search is like an epic poem!” he said, laughing. There was a pause, and I sensed his next words forming in the empty space. Wait for it, I thought. Wait for it. I waited. A moment later, I was vindicated. “Hey,” he said thoughtfully, “have you ever thought of writing poetry?”
“No,” I told him. “The only thing worse than being unemployed would be a poem about being unemployed.” In the silence that followed, I felt his rebuttal forming.
“Okay,” he finally said. “Maybe an epic poem would be too … collegiate. But why don’t you just try it?” No, I told him. It’s out of the question.
He persisted. We argued. He made concessions (“it doesn’t have to rhyme!”); I objected. Finally, with an exasperated sigh, he pulled rank. “Just try it, Roxana,” he pleaded. “Do this for me.” I groaned. “Fine,” I said. “Can I do something more like haiku, less like Ovid?”
“Great!” he answered triumphantly. And, with that caveat, I direct all complaints to David Lat.
After the jump, Poems from the Breadline.


It is December
My billable hours are low
Too low to measure
Managing partner
Where are you going? I came
To ask you for work
Managing partner
You flee to the men’s restroom
I will wait outside
Bob sits beside me
He is afraid I will barf
Or throw this stapler
When I say I was
Canned, you say “are you kidding?”
The joke eludes me
I cleaned out my desk
In my dark, silent office
An egg lurks, unseen
In my pajamas
I send resumes to all
Glad they can’t see me
COBRA is not a
Snake but a way to afford
Expensive health care
O, dear recruiter
I still have not heard from you
Perhaps you have died
My job interview
was as long as Schindler’s List
Why won’t you hire me?
If I relocate
To Dubai for my new job
Will you come visit?
Should I send out this
Resume, or feed it right
Into the shredder?
Unemployment tastes
Remarkably similar
To my split pea soup
Since your firm has gone
Out of business, does this mean
That you’re not hiring?
I have a nightmare
In which the refresh function
Suddenly won’t work
I hope I did not
Miss a call while I was out
Alas, I did not
If severance was
A fish, mine would be eaten
Quickly by Latham’s
If I had a job
I would bother to shower
Aren’t you judgmental?
I leave a message
In my most lawerly tone
Behind me, cats wretch
You can keep asking
But I will not give you back
Your Filet O’ Fish
I code documents
Mr. Potato Head snacks
My self esteem dies
Worse than working for
Elisa is being a
Hooker on Craigslist
My dear recruiter
Though we have not met I wish
You would fuck yourself
Had I known how long
This would last I might have tried
To learn a language
Please excuse me while
I check my email once more
I think it’s broken.
Thanks for the coffee
If I find a job can I
Buy you a seaplane?
If I did not have
This BlackBerry I would have
To stay in my house
I’m sure you want to
Offer me that job I want
You’re just being shy
Notes from the Breadline
Helps keep me sane while I look
For the downhill rock.
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Roxana St. Thomas is a laid-off lawyer living in New York. You can reach her by email (at [email protected]), follow her on Twitter, or find her on Facebook. And check out the Notes from the Breadline t-shirt store here.
Earlier: Prior installments of Notes from the Breadline


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