workzine

Doug Spangle, 8/31/2009

Current Occupation: Maritime Communication Specialist

Former Occupations: Ma & Pa Store Clerk, Stagehand, Hotel Night Clerk, etc.

Contact Information: Douglas Spangle has rattled around the Portland literary scene since 1978 as poet, editor, translator, proofreader, book reviewer, KBOO radio host, open mike emcee, and all-round nuisance. Don’t get him started.

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A Short Essay on the Modern Workplace

So it goes

from the moment I first step in,

disrupt the airflow

in the highrise’s climate control

from one end of the suite to the other.

The fans continue huffing all day and night.

A stream of data

flows through the room, comes

to reside in the atlas, in Lloyd’s Register;

enriching reports with transitory digits, it

plumes into the computer terminal

at which I dabble my fingers

now,

as in the very far past

my ancestors would have groped trout,

grubbed turnips, run swine and kine

through dust and mud

to the commons.

I prick my ears

for bells and whistles, tones

on a radio, I switch and patch phones,

“continue to monitor”

the way a peasant would nap in shadow,

though my light spreads no heat.

Call it work,

this management of information.  I do,

and consider myself good at it,

like any journeyman would,

giving out the right answers

as an honest miller would give proper measure.

Like the farmer

plodding behind an ox,

I nurture and provide

for those who haven’t space or resource;

in another wise,

I am like the priest,

concerned with matters past my arm’s reach,

pulling numbers from nowhere,

drawing instruction from an unseen source,

conversant with the course,

I claim, of great waters

that contain the quartered earth.

*     *     *

next article: Whole Foods

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