“This Isn’t like Any Other Profession Out There”: A found poem

All language taken verbatim from S10 E5 of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a reality show about football rookies in training camp competing for spots on an NFL team, and S14 E7 of Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” a reality show about fashion designers competing for New York Fashion Week.

What should you be?

All over the place.

On the fucking ball.

Hope and pray this stuff holds.

Come up with an idea. Run a play.

Think outside the box. One-two-three-meow!

Don’t mind the cameras till you to talk to them.

I will be back to check on you, of course.

This is the most unstable job you could have.

It’s more important to be creative than sexy.

The reaper or whatever they call it:

I just need to suck it up.

You have to earn your job every single week.

It’s a little intimidating.

Put good shit on tape.

You’re in a competition, so compete.

You’ve got physical skills but it can’t be up or down.

You have a lot of work to do.

You’re never safe.

I guess we’ll feel much better in the morning?

Every snap, every route:

Want to make it strong and sharp.

It might be the end of the world.

I’m still trying to build my confidence and let loose.

Devastated would be a good word.

Fingers are falling off.

Everyone’s looking for inspiration.

That’s terror that you’re feeling.


Arielle Greenberg is the Resident Poet at Bright Wall/Dark Room. She is the co-author of Home/Birth: A Poemic; author of My Kafka Century and Given; and co-editor of three anthologies, including Gurlesque. She lives in Maine and teaches in the community and in Oregon State University-Cascades' MFA; she is currently teaching a course in American cinema to insightful students at the Maine State Prison enrolled through the University of College at Rockland (hi, guys!). Arielle writes a regular column on contemporary poetics for the American Poetry Review.