I'm not sure how these lazy, hazy days of summer have suddenly become so busy. First a week of Vacation Bible School, and now this week, which feels like a week of many meetings--but it's really just one long day of meetings. Today, to be precise.
I'm trying not to feel anxious about the meetings ahead, but frankly, with all sorts of bad news lately, it's hard not to be anxious. I'm not a huge fan of meetings anyway. We're often simply rehashing instead of solving problems or trouble shooting.
So, perhaps I shall listen to plainsong in the car today. Faithful readers of this blog know that I often listen to punk music on my way to days of many meetings (more on that here), but today, I'll listen to monks chanting.
Or maybe I'll listen to the soundtrack from Godspell to remind myself that there's more to life than office insanity. Days like today may feel straight out of the Beckett handbook, but there's a larger purpose. There has to be.
But for those of you wanting to explore that theatre of the absurd quality of the modern office, here's a poem for your Tuesday. It's part of my second chapbook, I Stand Here Shredding Documents.
Penelope in the Office Cubicle
She dismantles the chart she created
just last week, moving data
from one computer program
to another, to create
a chart that looks
just like the original.
She fixes coffee
only to be informed
that everyone now requires
decaf. She pours out pots
of coffee, staining the sink.
Part of her team rewrites
all the departmental objectives.
When the missing members return
from vacation and illness, the team changes
the objectives again. As she synthesizes
the various versions, she realizes
that they’ve written and revised
their way back to the original objectives.
Every day, she wakes up wondering
what work she’ll unweave today,
only to reweave tomorrow.
Every night, she dreams of voyages.
A poet, a scholar, an administrator, a wanna-be mystic--always wrestling with the temptation to run away to join an intentional community--but would it be contemplative? social justice oriented? creative? in the mountains? in the inner city?--may as well stay planted and wrestle with these tensions and contradictions here, at the edge of America.