Thursday, April 5, 2012

At the Office

You cannot find yourself in this calm.

Nothing vibrates, and the blue-

tinted plate glass you occasionally

stare through when the quartz

seconds relax is really the flat

side of the building. You speak

casually about casual things,

and if yesterday’s sediment

is still stuck in your teeth, you excuse

yourself mildly and spit. By ten

the flavor is gone. The raw umber

morning from which you ascended,

irritable as weather, your two feet

two slippery eels you’ve

pinched into submission, your breath

reeking of insolence, neither

blusters nor whispers but hangs

inaudibly like a medieval

panel. The clouds lighten and darken

and you are suspended between

the two points of departure and arrival,

and you can insist on neither.

You say phrases that are not yours,

you hear phrases that are not

theirs—not quite a victim but

a shareholder in a kind

of confinement that, like a scab, hurts

when it is rubbed. You squirm

in and out of sensations, but each

week there are things that you must

say. You know yourself by the echoes,

but here, where the flat meadows

are well cropped and boxed in

by hedgerows, valleys

are in bad taste. The lead ends

of your legs are planted deeply

in the assigned turf under your shoes

and you live vigorously

and with great effort in that small space.

Neither neutral nor

committed, you bide time, either

by work or at noon when consuming

becomes your sole means of expression.

You are an insult to

yourself because you request that

which you are unable to bare.

But you are forgiving, for what use

is a great emotion? There

are times when the seedlings in you can smell

the sun and you are sprouting

in four directions. And at moments in

the afternoon, the dark

winter clouds incongruously

stir you and your walkup

thoughts are like freckles that have never

quite disappeared. You chuckle—

almost involuntarily—and the minutes

are not tender or hard but

slide conclusively to an end.

You have misplaced your

coordinates, but there is no

reason for you to anguish—

the walls are padded and you are held

together by your clothes.