job site

by Zane Koss

to be cold, breathe

                        in the morning
     as it hangs over
starts with this:

unload; truck, starts first
with crowbars and hammers;
if replace, take measures,
first; find the rotten wood,
              breathe it,s rich mint

push the   railing over,
spindle byspindledon’t
jackknife just straight      in
a little more, little more;
straighten out:

and will accepts all this,
mounded; so heap it nice, to
fit more; don’t
   caught in, the pure joy of,
and forgetting           to make
larger piles

          like fingers stacked
back and forth clasped hands
lie flat, knock another row
to the deck board  s
                   pried      , each
pops, at joist as nails release,  
slow; pop crowbar each until
leverage the board, itself out
and away, thrown down
to load

                              stack      ;
watch yr step, on nails; and
keep the last long to hold it

learn how ratchet, to straps

               dropped sledge and
near miss, don’t let him ,
live that one down, dont be
care less witha wet handle

     or this time once droppt
on my head

what fucking idiot built this
thing twenty four inches on
centre two by six joists no
beam no hangers nothing
galvanized what kinda
fucking idiot does that, eh

                   just the way it was

satisfying to break, except
holds too tight and snaps,
needs pry individual out,
careful,   section by section &
splinters. walk on nearly air

watch that last joist, walking,
a little
                        soft ,
no need to tom: fall thru and
not comp out face pummelled
by boards, with the boys
              just this and carry on
tarp up and take that to,heave
another load,              ,
lunch, and take another off.
bang out each joist, on the rim
side, faster sledge and twist
the hanger

                            pull nails if
salvage         for rotten boards,
what the fuck he think he
gonna do with all this shit     i
dunno he’s paying us he can
do whatever the fuck he wants
with it

watch posts now
at some point this: remaining
skeleton;         won’t hold, to
disassemble these, one by
each, lowered down, propped
shoulders         held together;

oh don’t worry i got it

    alright, tom; well fuck, let’s
                 break for lunch then

heyy, kid

             sawzall thru what
resists, find nails when can’t;
and blade bites, stuck; to
pinch apart, hold that to cut
clean; rough cuts into pieces
enough to fit trailer, haul it
      now writing as one job, to

peel toughest away from with
out splitting cedar siding or
bending flange, extra nails to
hold ledger, we can fix that
later if       but never quite hid
the same

              don’t throw that away
                to make the new one

if stuck, watch sharp, jam
saw,  pops nails as cut breaks,
kept tight to, and slides out

once free                 or trapped
                                   the blade

                  keep all  the angles
but starting again, here, often:

post holes, new dig, not sink,
or sag

if auger, then fast, but sunk
rocks can rock shoulders to:
       ; learn to hang on but not
over       , lest rips and joke
about little guys hits rootss
and spun round right ,or if:

shovels, full day this: face,
unless clay       , cuts like,
breaking; scales back glaze
off walls and down until pick
won’t swing; alternate, bars:
                  chopping or prying
and contraption     scoop,
                 ukrainian,  or face

down extended ,snuffing up
the earth against your face,
could be pulling rocks,
depending on
this is

eighteen inches wide, two
feet, at least, deep; sometimes
flared for larger bearings. if

                        how about that
fuckin nugget: sweat running
clean streaks down yr face,
into the eyes,

saw sonotubes to height, back
fill back again back with
loose rocks and dirt, kept
level, check level, webbed
strings to coordinates, check
level, tighten for accuracy,
(keep it taunt; taunt him for

just pack it down good

                                starts again
with this: wheelbarrow, hoe;
with this: shovel, and hose;
mix and guess to    get the
hang of it, cutting dust
against mud, rocks sccraping
metal;       just another splash,
little more, okay that’s it,
ready? (the hairline between
enough and too much

you cant keep making it so

add a little more then, keep
stirring, gets tough, and;
      this shit sets quick so don’t
                              fuck around

sink spades in
perfect consistency
to slop down tubes

                              to compress
                                 access air

jamming       rebar down into,
and out,       , cut thru the
slop,   little bit more

    keep it coming lets see if we
  cant get them all done in time
     for lunch, pierce bags, with
     edge, hoe and rip to clouds,
        to     lime
               burn in your nose, two

man job: stir, hose          and
shovel, old guy   trowelling
smooth,            brackets,
cellphoned to clients

if go to, and we’ll run to and
grab, should be good to;

           airconditioned,              ,
        : sit, radio. and
flipping boards: catseyes, wane,
crowned, (crook called crown
where i)fucking curve on that
you could play hockey withit,
twisted    damn near

saying words like pren’ier;
pren’ier not a good board in
that stack, brandon (pren’ier
everyone named brandon

lay em in for kevin
counting at the gatehouse,
don’t so much   to crack ,the
frame      on the old white ,
truck, take
           trailer withit on the
bigger jobs,           these days;
calculate: two by ten joists
and rimboards,       make sure
you got some nice flat ones
for the beam, and some not
too bad looking for the rim
               , joist, eight by eight
       , every
               thing,          , treated

box of green 3-1/2s,
 get some more        when
we need em,

                     , flagged at gate
to be sure, have a good one
,bud          take her easy

and restack again,
               requiring foresight,
       starts first, now with ,this:

and two methods to this: was
early, put post balanced and
levelled across, propped legs,
diagonal and checked level
often; beam’d and built to:
ground up, extended outward
to meet from ledger; put
sloped not
                 always accordingly

but figured later, now, to start
like: built rim frame on
ground, screw     joist from
back and hangered after for
greater strength, few joist to
keep it square,

             spread evenly; the key
measure now repeated:
                            kept square;
lift up, ledgered to        chalk
line, leveled to wall, and
cantilevered to while held, all
holding so don’t fuck it up or
slow,           fucking hurry up,
should be fine on the wall
          now, go help tom; goofy
fuckin farmer and always the

          ; oh i’m fine boys take
yr time;

proppt legs now vertical,
lag bolts in ledger, tighten
em upin good, and throw
                           a fewscrews;

check the level; drop that
                                     a touch
        want a bit of a better, and
   slope on this one, and to that
    water running, the right way

and calculated, set proper,
measure to; bracket and joist,
calculate for beam width;
nine and three-eighths, or a
little larger

                    ;    fuck it,
we’ll make it
little sawzall below to plane
suspended up from;

we build from
                   the top down for
accuracy, slope; got that

suspended, top down without
                          the measure;
keep a saw, too small, and so
right round ring,               :
four cuts, and sawzall   the
remainder, careful to keep it
flush, put some treat on that,
copper; slop it good, and prop

         the jack level if uneven,
scraps of boards; saw scrap to
right prop, jack it a little; had
beam triply plied of two by
ten and lapped joints back

and forth
                            , and weighs

               take one side to each,
  shoulder’d to cutting, pinch’d
          between board and bone

express what                 will
allow:                and forth,
unflowing                   ;
                        , to put in
                        , old guy
puffed up   redder’n usual;
drop jack             few quick
screws to hold          ; and
check all level, level across,
back, posts; and square,
four-five-six’d; level across

little more than ideal but still

how the posts for
                            the top needs
           to come my way a bit
what do you mean

                gimme the fuckin
        hammer you hold the god
                               damn level
and look           ;
                    practically perfect

toe nail to that; beam to posts
                  few screws to hold

and start filling in the gaps
where        joists
                       to be held over
to           shape, and square, to
hold off
          for lifting,
               start filling in; and
scabbed across seams,     later
rimjoist doubled to join;
                      one cutting, once
cuts, and measured to screw
square and picks the boards,
mark out sixteen            on
centre and use       square to
line       aim     on vertical
three screws from rim to
joist, and hanger’d; laser’d
if          ; or measured cuts
       wall to string; taunt for
accuracy, pull  rimjoist into
place   where bent; crown
straighter than curved, as
joists, correcting;

and this kate, now,
               ; cuts one and
fastens the other,
                          passing back
boards                     ; a little
tight;                in the end to
hold; kept       work with
                    them; all day,
holds finger to flush on top,
and squared lines, within the
sixteen on centre marked;
ledgerside, hope hanger dont
bump           above, and that
ledger screwed with
space for flashing, to deck
                   moves fast, now;
, to see structure emerge; from
this; now

hurricane ties, and hanging
underneath, ladders tilted to
slope under deck; sack of
screws in pouch, stacked
hangers to tied joists to beam

dropping screws, and balanced
poked in belt, bag; reached;

muffled ears,
       , nut driver, finish  
             lags, tighten to wall;
hole, washer, lag, repeat;

if spans, too long                  ,
snaps chalk, lines for blocking

                    faster cut
now  one back each and slap it
quick measure ahead and
chop a few quick, scour site
for scraps                    ; recut,
         line screwed from back,
toenailed to    double rimjoist

see if you cant
                   put an extra piece
of flashing      on top of the
ledger there to keep
                                 the water
away from the wall        good

and back to the yard; less
       warp, more so, rough
grain, wane, catseyes and
knots, no splits for working
right to the edge, use full
sixteen spans;                  ;
might be able to get some
thing outta that one; or,
whole pallet
                       , or bigger job;

sixteens typically,
depending                     ,
calculate          alternating,
fours, eights, twelves to blend
joints                    , if twelves

           wet one a heavy, loaded
                sure to grab wrap for
                         tarping pile     ;
          ratched strapped flagged
and paid to account, p.o.

 coffee and fritters, longjohns
                 to jobsite; must be
                  or old guy
getting sweettooth’d

sit          where possible,
             , whatever one can
       ; thermos a coffee, hot or
    , and crouched on,
            ; take a piss behind;

and laying em down, starts
out, for overhang, measure
approximate for last board, to
square, shift or fan as laying
to measure,        even it out,
appearance of
                       straightness to
                the  eye;      calling
out      the remainder
                   : quarter, seven
sixteenths to land on centre
                each way, sixteens, ,
cut over long to hang
skilsaw; a straighter edge;

put pegs, made purpose to,
dowel and blocker;      to
even; board bender that
caught; old guys thumb still:
smeared                    on
orange               ; adjust
                   routered edges, to
                 splinters and warp;
kate laying, cutting;             ,
measure, cut, laid from joist to
joist     ;   tom never quite
sure enough; to

  measure to wall, check
adjustment to square, fan one
side to equal; argue about it;
simple square or odd angles to
slow, dangle long and save
back edge the otherway to
progression of lapping

throwing boards, faster’n;
kept flush, screw down tight;
angled at edge to catch, or
straight down; joists at two or
three depending three inch

     kneepads, old fella cutting
(tom off, elswhwere; haying
season; no kate        , working
             xmas or summer; to
get done in time

and approaching
 flared or tightened to run one
board wide enough to gap, rip
saw on skilsaw to catch ,
curved where wall; out of
order to slide, if not slid,
shave to make; fits this, odd
angles and bites back,

looks a pure surface,        ;
and over with pogo           gun
to fill in where skipped screws
                                   for speed

         held sideways to            ,
     aim    ,

            ; edges run a line
down, saw; router at quarter
round; tidied

             swapped steel-toes
for sneakers,
              ; not scuffing,

swapped         old steps put
back on temporary,          cut
stringers from old
                        saved for
guide pressure treat    or
metal, either each anchored
to deadman buried,
                                 lag bolt
         open riser, treated tread
the angles never

                           quite right
the first few tries                   ;
railing, the old guy
, calculated for        ;rough fir
corners and what spanned in
cedar; stained, glassed; on

,              efficiency,
                       metal, but:

     this, starts over again in
the garage,                from
     home shop,
                           ; layered
earbuds and safety,

and hoped the posts
 custom cut not too bad;
rough, no twist or       wet;
                         , pick thru if
 ; find some, new

      few bundles cedar,
spindles all fucked in
different    angles, rough

and work, this, to keep

fortyfives, and tongued, to
score out remainder; skilsaw,
alternating sawzall, drill

cut to form, loosely;
        and belt sanded to kept
     square; palm to touch
                 keep some texture on
           and passed off to stain;
                        this sometimes
                            , or usually,
or , kate,
         or, working

slop it good that shit just
drinks it up;          stinging
eyes, shop door wide even,
and shirtless;

belt bites more than fast
enough,         readjust back
             to keep; kept square
time, moving from each;
cedar’d cut     ; and dado’d for
gasket if glass; quick palm to
                and stained too;

or dozens spindles,
palm sand and days spent;
                          eyes stinging,

second coat or third; hit the
tops good to keep water,

passing off to each, keep up;

left sun, or rain pending, could
be winter, so:
precise to fit,       layered
garage, shelved up for
                contracting space;
       waited out,          quick
stop another, and re-stain
         job to fill;

                         load somehow
not to scratch, and tilt
precarious, and softly down,
               tom crawls, canopy,
little dunnage,
                                   to space
                       unload likewise,
           and stack gentle, tarped

starts with, this: corners,
   jigsaw out to fit lap, tongue
to rim joist, lap;

    two person, here; hold one
to                       level, and
        drill for pilot hole;
top left; yeah, put that one in;
and lagged to doubled rim;
                  me and the old
guy, always (except when

             tighten that one good,
hold on, push to level; ok,

                             now drilled
to hold opposite, level; lags
tightened back and forth to
kept to, string line taught,
pulled to;

           laid out, repeated;
ladder to leaned to, clanging;
          (             , mocking mark
                                      for this

rails cut roughly, to; L-
bracket, (if glass: screwed
and angled to miss, dado’d
gasket trench;

measured up, and kept;
quarter inch past to glass,
slide and hold;
            one each and popped
up and down, or gapped not
         quite to where supposed
to; not quite enough fucking
space on this side;
               god fucking damnit;
and fixed, quick

spindles more pain in the ass
       put whole panels, and cut
to proper gap and kept,
)                                to square

put tops, and cut to fucked
angles of twisted fir posts;
          ; pride in local repu

screwed down from under and
clamp it good
      to suck it down tight, no
                    water capillaried,
       maybe a quick coat,
                       to keep the rain
                    good; final sweep,
and, literally swept; sawdust

     , bucket and last few tools;
truck, and scraps; lawn
for screws, spare splinters

put  back the barbecue, patio
furniture, birdfeeders,
              planters,             ;
maybe    have a lunch, here; or
another site, reload; or maybe
              just this

          : pack’er up and
head’er home;

job site is available from The Blasted Tree Store.

Zane Koss

Contributing Author

job site by Zane Koss is a Blasted Tree original long poem.

ISBN [Digital]: 978-1-987906-34-9