Monday, May 8, 2017



Every time I see some customer in line
Hectoring the barista, say,
about how little lime
There is in this selzer
Or how this mocha was supposed to be
Extra hot, and have
More foam
  Than usual
But not this much
I find
My mind goes back to an interview I once had
With a woman who sat terrifying,
  Totalistically inclined
Behind a desk and said things like:
  “I was disturbed that you would have chosen
    a subject like that;
      “We don’t have
         the intelligentsia here
   “I don’t pull any punches about
     What’s on my mind
   “Did you just say
     you had a strong ‘economic’ background”?
  The word I’d mumbled
  Had been “academic,” (the scene
  Invited mumbling),
but her mind
 Leapt vengeful at the possibility
  That I had implied
 That I was rich
I lied – and said
 I wanted the job, she asked:
   “What would you like to do here?”
And however I replied
 It was the opposite of what she needed, I guess
 I had denied
Whatever relief of duties she sought –
  What a stick in the eye
I was!
 But still, out of,
The enormous gentleness of her being she might
Be willing to give me a chance, she’d have to consider
And already in my mind I was plotting
The glorious letter,
In which I would say, without malice or spit
That “I’d like to withdraw my application – it seems like it's
  Not the best fit.”
Her mammoth claws closed on… nothing!  -- I’d already ridden –
 Out of the collapsing cave, my adieus bidden.
It does, as I say, remind
Me of that moment,
 Every time I see
Someone who thinks they own another person
Due to the economy.
-- you need this job, you’ll have
 To crawl for every farthing!
The customer is always right!
Well, the customer is a crock
And your job is worse than starving


The only acknowledgment of despair
Her husband made
Was to disparage it
Despite which those who have
Passed through the great pain
Will know that this is not dispositive
Of the issue
Despair has not

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