Current Occupation: Steelhead and Salmon Angler
Former Occupation: Composition-grading Robot for Large Urban Community Colleges
Contact Information: After 20 years of teaching college-level composition, Spey Rod uses the few brain cells he has left trying to trick big steelhead on Oregon’s Sandy River. You’ll have to find him on the river, but if you ask him if he wrote this poem, he will deny it. Check out Spey’s “Post Tenure Fish in the Machine," "Satori on I-84 ," and "Key" in back issues of WORK.
Grading college compositions was like eating sawdust
but the salary, tenure, and pension were maple syrup.
Still, what sane person would eat sawdust with maple syrup?
Some of us found refuge in illegal or prescription drugs,
cigarettes, alcohol, far-away trips to foreign lands,
immersion in painting, poetry, or Eastern mystical religions.
Years of pain, and thousands in student loan debt
rewarded us with decorative meals at long tables of
song, celebration, and later vomit from overwork.
Honestly, some students tried very hard
but what could they or we do when English
wasn’t their first language
and survival wasn’t ours?