Terms Defined and Functions Made Clear

Terms Defined and Functions Made Clear

Ornate desk
Overheated office.
Plus him. Plus me.

accountant –
all of them his.
Oh, it belongs to his accountant.

He said to me:
You’ve gotten what you wanted
so we’re square right now
His accountant chews the pencil and nods.
I’ll collect the final payment at a future date
His accountant sets down the pencil.


TGI Tuesday

From Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

TGI Tuesday

Everyone around me was slurping down a
quick coffee
or snorting out a phone conversation full of laughs
or doing some other time-wasting thing and me too
I was skim-reading a couple of pages in a magazine
the cover filled up with two good-looking
well-groomed people
grinning mouthfuls of teeth and who
you just knew it
would be throwing kisses at the photographer
one second after this photo was taken and
I was wondering
what it would be like to be those people
just go around throwing kisses and
getting my picture taken
Just snapping my gleaming choppers at any and all
and I don’t know why I’m telling you
but everyone is doing it
wasting time I mean and enjoying it and laughing and
let’s get some more coffee! and later on
we’ll go back to our desks and push a little paper –
chew on a pen – untwist some paper clips
the small installments we have to pay
for this five-day-a-week party
more real to us than anything else in life
going on here Floor 21 Great Big Office Tower
and super news! today is only Tuesday!


Start From Here Not Here

From the collection Unpredictable Hue, 2019.

Start From Here Not Here

Pushing a cart full of cardboard boxes
along the bumpy sidewalk
in the heat. The woman
slides her sweaty hands over the handle
to make the turn into the building
the boxes sway the cartwheels squeal
the woman grunts the cart moves but
no one really seems to want to go
It’s such a lot of aggravation
for not too much of anything but
someone in that building wants those boxes and
that someone will get those boxes
in good shape on time and take it for granted.

The woman brings out the empty cart
sets it on the sidewalk where
relieved of their burden the two of them go
moving lithe down the sidewalk while
the woman hums under her breath
and the cart wheels sing.
Sometimes it’s easier than you think
to make pleasure out of
not too much of anything.


Other End of the Line

From Clean Canvas, 2018.

Other End of the Line

On the other end of the line
I have no idea
but I’d guess
could be request for interview
I gather from
this end of the conversation
that I’m eavesdropping on
I hear
blond hair in a topknot ponytail
green hoodie
speaking into the phone
and lacking presence
is all I can say
Note of uncertainty
could be nerves but
it would put me off if I were
thinking of offering her a job
I’m not. Good luck on the interview
I think
wondering how I sounded
forty years ago
other end of the line
to the person who offered me
my first job?


Maybe Was in the Air or Something

From Clean Canvas, published 2018.

Maybe Was in the Air or Something

Worked there for a couple of years
until I lost patience with it and them and
the whole thing
felt like I’d been caught and escaped
and I don’t know why
the pay was good
a wicked-acting set of gals on the floor
doing a little teasing and joking around
plenty of room for promotion or slacking off
take your pick
I got along fine
No room for doubt
I hated the place.
I don’t know why.


It’s a Social Kind of Job

From Rearrange, 2018.

It’s a Social Kind of Job

The clerk seemed only too anxious to please
the person he was chatting with over my head
– I mean the guy behind me in the check-out line –
giving me the wrong change
resenting the interruption when I asked for a recount
I almost admired the discreet way he rolled his eyes.

I can only conclude that a middle-aged lady
is not as interesting to a teenager
as another teenager
But what I am is polite. I thanked him
removing my bags of groceries
moving down the counter
making room for him to
high-five the outstretched hand
speed up the talk
and start in on some laughing and joking
with his friend

I did not stop at the manager’s office
to complain.
I worked
as a cashier
when I was a teenager


Haiku Group Office Talk

From Redirection, published in 2017.

Haiku Group Office Talk

So I didn’t know
if somebody kept a file
If they did it’s fine.

I’ll meet you halfway
There will always be issues
See, that’s what happens

So, you’re kind of sure
if anybody throws stones
I’ll meet you out there

OK, it’s a stretch
there’s so little to go on
Do me a favor

It’s part and parcel,
not that I want a big fuss
Take it off my hands

I may, later on
I’m assimilated here
for the time being

what I could do is
billing the escrow at once
so it would be fixed

Settle things next week
it’s a separate question
I can’t answer it.

(from bits of office conversation, 8/9/17)


From Enough for a Book, published in 2016.


Open the door
to the street and I slip out
into the water. Swimming hard.
The fierce sun beats down on my back
the steady hum in my ears never ceases
guiding me
my toes find the sand I wade I turn and push off
the sidewalk again the traffic having no interest in me
the rip current bored by my insignificant size
drops me on my toes now clad in
size eight modest-heel-height black pumps
to match my linen summer suit and
pearl earrings. I run my hand over my wet hair
as a gust of cold air beckons me back inside
after my lunch break.