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Ode to a Slow Day at the Office

03/30/2015 02:00 pm ET | Updated May 27, 2015

Ode to a Slow Day at the Office

There is not much to say about offices.
At least, not much I could tell you. I imagine
They are like marbles. Different colors,
But all small and surface. I'm not an expert.
I don't really like writing poems in the office.
Not because anyone is watching,
But because there's not much to say. Phones.
I am writing this in an email so no one will notice.
Nobody bothers you when you are writing an email.
Reading a book, yes, cell phone, yes, dozing, yes
But emails are made of finer stuff. Office zen.
Rules. The boundaries by which we make
Anything bearable. The same reason that tribes
Develop war dances and human sacrifice. To help
Us understand. To tell a story. Do not speak
More loudly than necessary. Do not stand
At the water cooler for longer than five minutes.
When someone asks how you are, do not say
That you are a bad father. This is the history
We shall record: Anthony answered the phone
In a voice just above a moan and the words
He spoke shall remain unknown and unfathomed.
Janet and Greg convened at the cooler
For four minutes just after sunrise for two years
And Janet never responded with anything but,
Fine, how are you? even though every time he asked,
She thought of the thing and shuddered.
There are rules. Handle with care. Do not touch
When hot. Rules. If you violate them, the tribe
Will know, and it will not be long before you
Are the one huddled in the underbrush,
Hiding from hunting calls disguised as birdsongs.