WORKING, NOT WORKING

At work, I may not be working,
Joking with my co-workers when there’s not much to do.

At work, I may be working hard,
But it’s not like I’m cleaning my yard;

I’m on coffee and glancing at names and numbers
With pleasant dreams of leisure in my head.

This may sound crazy, but work is not really work,
Just as the economy, the measure of how humanity does,
Is best when activity wastes a lot, so a lot of useless work is done.

Things that break keep the economy humming;
Awful art filling up classrooms, hospitals full, beads and bangles made.

Birth because of death; death, our boss, flies in from the shade,
Oversees us and makes us scurry back to work
As we get back to doing what other departments do not know we do.

All errors we fix are good errors, providing us jobs,
A good life, planted with loving care by death—who is always busy.

So work is not work; there, I hope that’s clear;
Now on my day off, work is everywhere:

In the morning, I switch on my devices
And feel the zero-one-zero world in operation.

I have my coffee at the inspection garage.
The sweat and oil drip amid the noise;

Then, more coffee at the quiet, spacious dealership,
Suits and ties flying.

Stuck behind the garbage truck, I observe
Arms hurling garbage, impatient rush-hour cars grumbling.

To find some peace I duck into a cafe,
But the waiters, looming over table and counter, work, too.

Exhausted from watching the tired,
I go home, find the cat sleeping, and know what I must do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. noochinator said,

    June 22, 2015 at 11:25 pm

    I had to stop drinking the coffee, it was killing me — 40 years of that stuff mucking up my synapses, making me ping and disobey Quentin Crisp’s cardinal message to the world: “Cool it — and start treating one another better than you do in heat.”

    • thomasbrady said,

      June 23, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      I am currently addicted to coffee; I’d be lost without it.


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