Friday, August 29, 2008

Poem of the day 08.29.08

the smartest idiot here

he complains about everyone
while we load a second goddamned truck
full of heavy doors and windows,
thick counters in frail boxes,
and frames so delicate,
i can hardly touch one
without the boss giving me a hard time.

he says everyone here is lazy
and that he’s had to fix the warehouse
at least three times since they hired
the new warehouse manager.

they don’t appreciate him.
they owe him a raise,
at least one,
maybe two,
since he’s done well enough
to be promoted twice,
and to top that all off,
he shows up early for the job
and stays late without being asked to.

when we finish, we go back
into the office
and i am so tired i can’t think
of anything but going home
and having the day’s first drink.
but that’s when one of the bosses
comes in and hands my complaining co-worker
a stack of keys that he has to fit
into the doors we just loaded.

after the boss leaves,
my co-worker sits in a chair
and puts his head in his hands,
then looks at me and wonders aloud
where he went wrong.
i’m an intellectual,
i’m a musician and a writer,
he says.
all those dreams
all those dreams, dead and gone
and now i’m in this trap here.
nothing but the smartest idiot in the place.

all i can do is listen
and hope he doesn’t escalate it any further.
i’m just a temp here,
and i don’t want the personal involvement
i’m being sucked into.
so i nod
and then i ask him if it’s okay that
i punch out early
because i have some shit to do at home.
he sighs and says yes,
and i leave before it can get any more
uncomfortable in there,
thinking i’ve won another battle
in work hell,
how it won’t be me doing this junk
until retirement,
and what a great poem this scenario
will make.

but outside,
in the car,
i begin to feel bad for the guy,
and everyone else i’ve ever known
that has lived and died by the clock,
carving out their own small minutes
in between the vomit-stench of what society
needs and deem we do.
my eyes well and tear for no reason.
the music i am hearing is no good.
the sun in the sky is a whore,
and my free time seems less valuable now.
i begin to think we are all brilliant fools,
the smartest idiots in the place.
intelligent enough to understand
the miserable situation at hand,
but just too dumb
to do anything about it.

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