Point and Shoot

José Vadi

when my parents are in town we walk from the
ferry building towards the skyscrapers down

town, me pointing to those i worked
in as a temp, setting up mixers and faux

bars, filing papers for day traders orbiting
a bell’s toll in manhattan, with

homes on caldecott’s other side, tunnel of
wages measuring each hour according to the

number of weekdays to earn it, of extra gigs
taken at lunch, 30 mins product surveys, $75 a check

            i am the secret consultant approving
            dunkin donuts commercials; the thumbs
            up behind revlon’s failed male cologne

my right index finger is a lancet measuring the time and space my body has occupied
prohibitive spaces of money its power its code switch, bait with a single statistically
touted female staff member, forget my name each of my twenty hired days, have my
flesh called Juan called HeySeuss called anything but Kevin these Kevins make sports
jokes and accept you if you know last night’s score, the numbers Vegas counts for the
benefit of wallets lining stock surfers selling high daily, my parents are in town i pay
their senior fare on the ferry ( i now afford the ferry )

my right finger is a time capsule pried awake with gold teeth sharpened by
the iron soles of payless church shoes molded into a $13-an- hour-adulthood,

into passing, into the Anything that says He’s Great for the Job, the views
of a city not yet evicted, just red lined, actualized,

everything residual, post first gen, lost pay stubs, w2s,
days of feeling out of breath, of feeling used.

José Vadi is a writer and producer based in Oakland, California. A recipient of the Shenson Performing Arts Award, José was the inaugural director of the Off/Page Project—an award-winning collaboration between Youth Speaks and The Center for Investigative—that incorporated investigative journalism and poet’s original work into short films, documentaries and live performances. His work has been featured by the PBS NewsHour, NPR, and The Daily Beast, while his writing has most recently appeared in Colorlines, Catapult, and Berkeley Poetry Review.