I've Had Lots of Jobs

I used to be the executive assistant to the vice president of Chanel
I worked my way up from Estée Lauder

I used to be a waitress in little Italy
A barkeep in Brooklyn
A barista in Boston

I used to manage a shop on Newbury Street
A shop in the Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream

I’ve been paid to grace stages all over the world.
Lincoln Center in New York
Christiana in Copenhagen
La Concha in Puerto Rico
I’ve been paid to sing jazz
Paid to sing blues
Paid to sing my own music

I used to bus tables at a restaurant for 16 hour shifts
And come home with $9 in my pocket, just like all the Mexicans
Only i’m Puerto Rican
And we’re citizens whether we are born here or not
I used to work in a vintage clothing store called Andy's Cheepys
Until Andy corned me in the basement and tried to feel me up
While a coworker stole my credit card out of my wallet and maxed it out
And I only worked there for one day

I used to teach yoga to kids in prison in the Bronx
Meditation to terminal cancer patients
Mahalia Jackson to teenagers in a failing school in east Harlem that closed down the year after I left
No children left behind

I used to stage manage operas
At a 2,350 seat house at the Brooklyn Center for the Performing Arts
Because I can read music
And mark cues in the score

I used to do demolition
And lift heavy shit for a living
For sometimes 15 hour days

I used to sit in the pit of Ground Zero
Before the Freedom Tower was built
And listen to and cry for 9/11 victims and survivors and family members
I used to do this in grand central station too
Where over 5 million people pass through every day

I used to book international travel arrangements for German tourists
Visiting the united States

I used to clean public bathrooms
I used to work 9-5

I used to teach the Medical School Entry exam verbal passages and essays to students
Who pretty much speak english as a second language
At the University of Puerto Rico
Those were some priceless essays

I used to stand out on the streets of Viejo San Juan
And beg tourists to come inside the restaurant and eat
Till my feet blistered and bled from standing in high heels for
8 hours straight
At $6 an hour 

I used to write million dollar grants for a dance studio in exchange for
Free dance classes and rehearsal space
I used to write million dollar grants for a children's theatre that
Fired me and told me “frankly we thought you’d be a better writer”
I used to write million dollar grants for freelance and always got the money
guess i was a better writer than they thought

I used to work for free
I used to work all the time
I used to always have at least 3 jobs

I used to have a shitty boss that accused me of stealing and set me up
By leaving $100 in cash on her desk where many people passed through
And said that it must have been me because i was in that day
And i was puerto rican

I used to have people that I sent my resume to
Ask me if i spoke english

I used to be unemployed 

I used to work in a drugstore named Nordon Drugs
And stock stockings
And greeting cards

I used to work in a brewery in Brooklyn
Where when i was reading an Allen Ginsburg book
The cook came out and told me to turn to a particular page
Where Ginsburg spoke of Terry the stutterer, 
Stuttered Terry, the cook.

I used to work for a women who managed classical musicians
whose husband came into the home office with his robe open
and his wrinkly dick staring at me
I ignored it

I used to work in a shitty middle eastern restaurant
Where a patron stuck his foot out and tripped me while i was running to a table
With a hot plate full of salmon,
The plate flew
I flew
I caught the plate
I caught the salmon
I served the dish
I quit the job that night
And have never waitressed again since

I used to work all kinds of odd jobs
These days
I'm retired