Picture problems & Invitation
by Amy Walter
[ poetry - december 08 ]
Hilton use their own star-system:
They give each of their hotels a 4 or 5 star rating,
Then put that many stars on the signs.
I'm at induction at a technically-two-star Hilton
With a man who's been unemployed for fifteen years.
We're shown a video about Hilton Brand Standards
Napkins folded at 40 degrees, 'H' slanted to the left
And how to deliver a Hilton Moment:
For instance, if you knew a regular customer was coming
And baked them a cake at home before your shift,
That would be a Hilton Moment.
After the video we are given a picture;
A photocopy of a man and a woman dressed for work.
We have to circle all the problems with their appearance
(Top button undone, hair down, more than one ring).
The now-employed man waits until I've circled things,
Then copies. A woman in a General Supervisor Jacket
Looks at what we've circled: we've neglected to note
That the woman pictured wears tights of too high a denier.
They must be fifteen denier or less.
She states that the company expects a closer observation to detail.
The restaurant supervisor is called Katie.
She says we can't keep the tips but can have free orange squash.
The now-employed man I do not see for a month or so:
He's in the laundry department, folding towels 9 to 5
Blue lines to form a rectangle at the top of the fold.
Oh boy with the beautiful hair
That pushes out from your head
Every which way, boy with oil paint
All over your jeans,
And no sadness in your eyes:
You don't have to apologize
When your foot brushes mine
Or tell me everything I say is cool.
I'll just sit here and love
That you've got so much paint
About your person, from making pictures
Of bottles, over and over for months.
Paint my jeans. Meet me somewhere
Natural and free, bring your brushes;
You don't have to be intricate about it
Paint long streaks that tickle
I want to feel your brush against
The other side of my leg.
I'll smile at your nervousness
And tell you higher higher.