Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Poem?: "The Invention Of Lent"

"Hey, boss!  The food stores from last year are running low, and it's so early in the spring that nothing's ready to eat yet, plus our hunters are too weak from hunger to catch anything."

"Shit!  Those people eat way too much!  They're going to riot when they find out the food's running out, and then when they figure out that we saved the best stuff for ourselves and still have some, they are going to kill us and take it."

"What should we do?"

"Leave me alone.  Go tell those lazy hunters that they have to fish or God will be mad or something.  See what you can catch.  That should buy us some time for me to think of something."

"If only people would just skip a meal or two occasionally, eh, boss?"

"Hmm . . ."

19 June 2016

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Poem: "In The Land Of The White Van Men"

In the land of the white van men
the servant quarters of a rich town
where railcars rattle back doors
drowning out the interstate
engines start at any time
items are strapped on roofs
and loaded in opened van doors

hot water tanks
draft inducers
pipes
tools
drywall sheets
boards
multimeters
paint
cleaning supplies
gutters
ladders
car parts
cables
shingles
animal traps
cement blocks
lawnmowers
chemicals
cigarettes
paperwork
conspiracy theories
losing lottery tickets
remnants of past lunches
bruised hearts
faded dreams
broken homes

Hope gets dropped
during the load-in
left behind
run over in the driveway

For the only thing
that a white van man
cannot fix
is his life

11 January 2016

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Poem: "Voicemail Purgatory"

When I finally quit that job
I remembered the day when I was stuck in traffic
I phoned work to let them know that I was late
Not that anyone there much cared
They were all late too usually
No one was there
So I pressed the buttons randomly while driving and hoped for the best
Since the company's voicemail system was a mess
If not calling anyone directly
Then it was nearly random
Not so much voicemail hell as voicemail purgatory
But still close to impossible to navigate
Especially while driving
That's how I got the dead man's voicemail
It was still up
It was strange to hear his voice again
He died of cancer
I met him only once or twice before that
He was an asshole
Who had cancer of the asshole
But since he had cancer
I let the first asshole part slide
Why he showed up to work once or twice
Just to sit in his office for an hour or two
I never could figure
He looked like a zombie wearing a Cleveland Indians hat
Maybe he wanted the money rolling in still
Or just wanted to check on his commissions
Which kept on coming in while he was out sick
I was always impressed that he could make a grand a week while not showing up for work
Then again, maybe he had to show up just to keep his health insurance
The company was cheap
When I gave my two weeks' notice
They yanked my remaining vacation days
So the rich kid who ran the company he inherited from dad got to eat three vacation days of mine
Which were hard-earned
Each one the product a month of no absenteeism
Poof!  They vanished, so I had to work every day of the last two weeks or not get paid
I chose not getting paid and quit right then
I should have just used my days before and then just quit on them without notice
That should be my final lesson to be taught never to do the right thing
Since the right things are usually written by the rich and for their benefit
Not yours or mine
Unless you're rich
In which case
Stop reading this poem and fuck off
Unless you are going to give me some money
But back to the dead man
I didn't leave a voicemail
Since he would never hear it anyway
But if I did
I would have told him
That I was glad that I planned on leaving the company
Before I was a dead man myself
It made me sad
To think of how he lived
No vacation really, just the same one day off earned a month same as me
The same shit everyday
And not good shit
Supposedly, he was a cool guy
But every story they told me about him
Made him sound like an asshole
So the assholism probably can't be blamed on cancer
And I use asshole in the whole
No Asshole Rule business philosophy way
No offense to anyone's asshole including mine
Which are all very hard-working and beloved
I am sure
Personally I prefer the term "Shitbrain"
If you're going to insult someone
And speaking of that, the asshole left behind
A lot of shit in his office
His family came in and cleared out most of it
It seemed like junk
He worked there for decades and that was all his working life added up to?
Some unanswered voicemails and office detritus
My coworkers divvied up and threw out what the family didn't take
I changed my voicemail before I left
Telling people that I would never receive their messages since I had quit
I don't know if anyone leaves messages for me
I don't care, since, frankly, most of the clientele
Were jerks--apologies for the nastiness
But this is poetry so there's not time for bullshit
Especially corporate bullshit about how much the client is loved
Just time for the truth
I find it interesting that people still left messages for the dead man
Sometimes his coworkers forgot to check his messages for days on end.
The callers might wonder why he doesn't call back
But I know why
He's fucking dead, and
The things we leave behind
Can at times be still ahead of others.

7 April 2016