Tag Archives: work

Father’s Stress is Now My Stress

When I was a child
and Father used to come home
from the plant or the yard
and later on from the office

I used to run into the kitchen
where he sat reading the paper
and jump on him screaming
as I’ve been home all day
smashing trucks together in the back lot
and he needed to know how exciting that was

Sometimes he was unresponsive
even angered
but distant mostly

His face was a lump of frowns
His eyes were closing
hands etched with tight veins

Mother used to say that he had a hard day

I never understood what that meant
or why Father’s face was so long
and why he looked so tired
irritable and angry
Over very little

But now…
thirty years later
I get it.

oh yes,

I know exactly what she fucking meant.



‘My life is fulfilled now that I know what you had for fucking lunch.’

I always keep a poem or two
to work on at work
it keeps me off Facebook
while waiting for files to load
when the software is frozen
or the servers are down
or both
so that I don’t have to
listlessly stare at the
fragments of irrelevant and
endless horseshit
moving down my screen
that people put there
all the time
that’s so easy to become
temporarily lost in
because you’re not really
doing anything
not even really
just scrolling down

‘Why don’t you go stuff your cat in the toaster?’

and it’s mildly pleasant
to drift through the
conscious stream like the
drive thru at McDonalds
as people drift through yours
while it’s all just an outright
abuse of our attention spans
save for the occasional
public meltdown
because they’re the most
entertaining of all
and can be downright
because I have friends that are
delightfully insane
and their morbid humour and
maniacal dialogue
helps pass the time
until my files are done
then I can continue to do
what I’m actually
paid for
for a little while

‘Good God, I slept with THAT?!’

They’ll Squeeze it Out of You Like A Machine

They’ll squeeze it out of you
like a machine
every last drop
whether you run a press
sit at a desk
or stand in a boardroom
until one day you realize
how much time you have spent
breaking your back
busting your bones
shitting out your soul
for dollars and cents
and it all suddenly
seems so absurd
that if you don’t
break into laughter
then you just break
and they’ll immediately
replace you
and start squeezing it
out of the next one
like a machine.

Poetry at Work

I’m on the Clock:
As sure as a running clock or a car running over your dog
people have a bad habit of coming up to my desk at work
and talking to me about all kinds of
crazy horseshit
because there is a large neon sign positioned directly
above my monitor that reads:
“I have absolutely nothing better to do!”
And I’m the only one that can’t see it.

They complain about their boss:
“You know what he looks like when he walks around like that? A T-rex holding a lunchbox!”
Disgruntled employee #17 always had a fun new way to describe the man in charge.
Yesterday it was ‘Satan’s battleaxe’
and from there he would always launch into the same routine:
“One of these days I’m gonna taser that Megalomaniac Fuck in the back of the neck,
throw him in the trunk of my car
and drive to Niagara Falls.”
It was always Niagara Falls that he would drive to, boss in trunk.
I was never sure why.
Yes, I was.

I said, “Make sure you spit in his face before you close the trunk.”
“Yeah…yeah…spit in his face.”
It was all fun and games but I’m telling you now
I won’t be surprised if that demented fucker
showed up for work one day
wearing a clown suit and sporting a shotgun.

They complain about their wives:
“She’s crazy. She’s a psychotic bitch. I finally killed her and buried her beneath the shed!”
“Well, did you spit in her face first?”

The weather:
“It’s too cold. It’s too hot. It’s too lukewarm.”
“I just want to spit in your face right now.”

Horrible Smelling Women:
My good friend will tell me how much
his date last night stunk
down there.
The aggravating stench that this
woman had was apparently so bad
that he tried to pour vodka into her vagina
when she wasn’t looking
in order to somehow alleviate it
but she was looking:

“What are you doing?” She shouted.
“It looked thirsty!”

Now he was absolutely convinced
that every single woman smelled
down there.
That’s right, they all let themselves go.
It was a Goddamn national conspiracy
that was sure to end up on the evening news
any day now.

He even busted out some charts and graphs
and continued describing every minute detail
to the point where it was no longer a conversation
as I now felt as though I were attending
a workshop on the subject.

Their lunch:
“Hey man, somebody keeps stealing my lunch.
Have you seen anyone taking shit that’s not theirs out the office fridge lately?”
“No man, sorry.” I replied and continued typing away on a blank screen.
He eyed me suspiciously then left.
He was onto me. I might have to lay low for a while.
I’ll decide when I see what he brings in tomorrow.

You’re Too Happy So You Must Die:
And of course there is always the one person
who was just way too happy and chipper to be sane.
It was almost like they were throwing their rampant insanity in your face
and it pissed me off
but if that’s not the case than that would mean
that they had a rarely blessed life
and that would piss me off even more because
if you’re here then you should have to
suffer just like the rest of us

I’m Here All Week (Fuck Off):
I’m not even scratching the surface
of what people are like in the workplace
I could go on and on
as to what a twisted zoo of lost souls it really is.

In fact, I probably will
just not today
because obviously I’m up to my ears
in their crazy bullshit
and it’s really aggravating
because they’re doing it right now
and I haven’t been able to get anything done
for an hour.

I mean,
Jesus, people!
Can’t you leave me in peace?
Can’t you see that I’m trying to
write this poem
about you?

A Wednesday That Ended With Scotch

I sit at a workstation all day
moving things around on the screen
between people coming over to talk to me about absolutely nothing
because I obviously had nothing better to do (Yes, that’s right. I’m actually talking about you).
Still, I suppose it was good for the occasional chuckle.
There was always a free giggle at the laughing factory.

One of the sales team came to my desk
sat on it, leaned over and asked me how I was doing
but more so like,
“How have things been for you? Any changes? You still with the same girl?”
“Good. Yes. No.” I replied but he still sat there unwavering and determined on having a conversation.
“What happened to the girl? She was really something.” He pursued. He seemed genuinely concerned.
Realizing that this was going to be more engaging than I had initially anticipated I dropped what I was doing, swivelled my chair around to face him
and starting talking
as he sat there
on my desk
in his salesman suit with his salesman tie
and that salesman smile.

It actually wasn’t a bad conversation.
Maybe sometime I will invite him over and we could discuss life on commission and the rise of commercial exports from China.

I ended the day trying to chop all of my pens into pieces with a box-cutter before my co-worker dropped me off at the mechanics.

“Who told you to come now?” Mechanic Mike said, exaggerated and comical as per usual. Mechanics, they had a sense of humour. Fuck, they had to. I mean, have you ever been to one of those places where they fixed cars?

I was also developing a tendency to stamp whatever their occupation was to the front of people’s names. They love it: Mechanic Mike, Bartender Billy, Pederast Paul, Sexy Suzy (yes, as far as I’m concerned, it was her job).

“I said I would be by at three.” I replied, but I was used to this. I had cars fuck off on me all the time since I’ve had my first and I knew that the labour portion of the bill was completely dependent on how things went and judging by Mike’s face I knew that things weren’t going so well.

Last time I was here was a month ago when I had a flat tire and had to get towed so I came back and bought a donut and jack so I wouldn’t be as helpless next time. The next day I found out one of my good friends had a bad accident and I hated myself for not going to see him. I’m so sorry. The next day a friend passed away. My mother was battling radiation treatment and my father had to go in to something removed from his eye. Oh, and a house had exploded down the street. It just exploded. Mostly I had my head lodged in a book that I was editing for so much of my time that it was driving me crazy crazy crazy…

“What is it, a tie-rod?” I asked.
“No, a bushing. Mike’s been battling with the damn thing trying to get it off for the past hour!” The other Mike said. The third Mike was in the back of the shop changing tires and listening to Ozzy.
“We’re waiting for a bolt to come in.”
“A bolt.”
“Car won’t be done for a while. You need to be somewhere?”
“Just home. Can you run me an estimate?”
“Sure. hold on.”
As he ran up the total I really wished I had some pens and box-cutters or some dolls to rip apart while listening to Marilyn Manson.
“Three-hundred and ninety eight. Tax included.” I love how they said that.
“Four bills for a bushing?”
“Three-ninety eight.”
“Okay, that’s much better.”
“You want to take my car for the night?”
“Yes. Yes I do.”

That was definitely a fist in the gut but at that point my worst ailment was winter. Yeah, I know that I live in Canada. Go fuck a polar bear. If I had to go through one more colourless, overcast, bitingly bitter cold day I would end up dead inside forever and back at the Homewood Health Centre reduced to a vegetative state with a permanent grin stamped on my face and drool collecting on my chin as two bored orderlies carted me off down the hall:
“Oi, what’s this one’s problem then?”
“Seasonal disorder. Drinking problem. Delusions of Grandeur.”
“Full set then. What set him off finally?”
“A bushing.”
“A bushing? Oi, we’ve had a lot of those come in this year. Well, let’s take him to the common room and set him beside the ping-pong table and let him reminisce back to a time when he had balls. Then we’ll go have a smoke and talk about Rhonda.”
“Oi, sounds go.”
“Oi! Oi! Oi!” They said in unison and clicked their heels.

The mechanic’s car had the radio set to a country station. I cranked it up as I drove home. It made me feel at ease with all things in general. Fuck, this shit actually worked! Look for me at the Stampede Corral hitting up a cowgirl from here on in. I’m fucking converted.

Four-hundred for a bushing…whatever, I’ll absorb it, but fuck man…fuck.

I pulled into the driveway.
My neighbour was standing in his open garage.
As I got out he looked at the car and said,
“What? Did you get demoted or something?”
“Yes,” I replied, “by my mechanic and in life lately it seems.”
I complained about my car. He complained about his jeep.
Very neighbourly, I’ll tell you.

“They just get old and things start to fall apart inside.” He left me with.
For some reason I thought that he was now talking about me.

I went inside and looked at my face.
It was haggard and angry in the harsh light.
I didn’t like it.

I went to the fridge to get something to eat
listing off in my head everything that I needed to do before the day’s end
but then I saw the bottle of Scotch
sitting there all lonely on the shelf with a label that read:

“Drink all of me right now. Give in.”

Good thing I wasn’t staring at the bleach.

It had such a compelling argument
that really spoke to me
so I grabbed the bottle instead and
took a hardy swig on my way to the garage
where I sat down
packed a pipe
lit a cigarette
and wrote this.