Stationery Life with Wall Street Journal

For C.M.

The high plains desert butte that serves as my desk
Awaits a sunset to match this Monday’s sunrise
Of Cyclops – the name I call my computer screen.
The incarcerations and liberties of envelopes clutter
The silence, overcrowded as any Sing Sing orRiker’s Island.
The inky indictment of pens and leaden assumptions
Of pencils stick their fatal shafts and quills

Into a coffee-cup drained of life some time
In the flux between the Business section and Personal.
My keyboard arrays its slightly raised runes
To proffer the potential poetry of a profit margin
Lurking behind the chime of the market bell,
Unread as piles of stock reports, pensees
Of profit, dividend arias, and litanies of loss.

And the smell of perfume hangs past morning –
Your perfume, White Linen, wafting its assaults
Over my cubicle, mystic in its ambush
(Though you won’t know it perhaps until much later).
You announce routine military exercises along the border,
And with hosiery’s hush you’ll cross and uncross your legs
A thousand times each day. I count them all.

The keyboard’s furrowed grey chiclets, trim and zen
As pebbles in a Buddhist garden,
Please the fingers combing for figurative gems.
A squared layer of snowfall, sheets of vellum
Rest on the office stationery shelf.
The space bar’s staccato hammer threatens to dislodge them
Like dynamite whiting out mountain slopes

To inoculate them against avalanche and ice dam.
An American-made paper clip’s early
Immortality is twisted awry by
The diplomacy of our last phone conversation –
The mangled silver wire sits by the wall jack, a futile
Inchworm of outstretched steel, a snarling cork-screw.
It gathers nothing now, collects nothing, holds nothing.

Papers fall apart. Reports cannot hold.
The stapler and tape dispenser are moved
Into defensive positions behind
The plastic-armored computer tower. The rapid fire
Of a rear-guard memorandum (“Re: Us”)
Dares me to a pre-emptive strike against mergers
That would delete my nerve and put us back together again.

Comments

  1. Southern Expat says

    slightly raised runes
    To proffer the potential poetry of a profit margin

    Very nice.

    Also:

    Papers fall apart. Reports cannot hold.

    Collating and collating in the widening gyre.

  2. Cubeland Mystic says

    Thanks JOB. Too busy this afternoon to talk. I assume CM is me and not Cormac McCarthy. Our writing styles and outlooks are often confused. Be back later.

  3. Genius.

  4. Angelico Nguyen, Esq., OPL says

    This…

    ‘My keyboard arrays its slightly raised runes
    To proffer the potential poetry of a profit margin
    Lurking behind the chime of the market bell,
    Unread as piles of stock reports, pensees
    Of profit, dividend arias, and litanies of loss.’

    …sounds a lot like this:

    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=1745

    Knowledge@Wharton: [Wallace] Stevens wrote, “Money is a kind of poetry.” What do you think he meant?

    Gioia: Well, it’s a metaphor and not an allegory, which means that I don’t think he just meant one thing. A metaphor radiates meanings. I think that at least two of the things that he meant were that if you are in business, money has a kind of imaginative power on you that’s not really something denominated in dollars and cents. But also, if you think about money as a metaphor, money is the one thing in society that you can literally turn into almost anything else. I think that he just took the idea of money, which we think of as just purely utilitarian and dull – and endowed it with a certain amount of poetic pizzazz.

  5. Cubeland Mystic says

    JOB

    “A squared layer of snowfall, sheets of vellum
    Rest on the office stationery shelf.
    The space bar’s staccato hammer threatens to dislodge them
    Like dynamite whiting out mountain slopes

    To inoculate them against avalanche and ice dam.”

    I won’t presume too much about this verse, but as I understand it this means a lot to me. Thank you very much.

  6. Jonathan Webb says

    Greatest New Jersey poet since WCW.

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