Employee Appreciation Day:
Once a year we gather here,
librarians, come to be appreciated
by the dead I guess
and a dean descended from higher learning
to serve his servants bloody beef and cupcakes
in the church adjoining this,
your junk food-covered grave.
One block away
we've walked from work
to hear our entertainment: On bass,
washed-up hippies playing pan pipe
versions of age-old diva Escapades
take you on a journey through the fall days of a critical world.
Now goth kids stand mistaken
by your grandfather’s grave
licking their razorblade scars,
invoking anarchist mantras,
half-expecting some chance wedding
of werewolf and tarantula.
O can’t you hear it, mustache man?
Is that your spirit in the manhole steam?
Have you heard how slot machines
can cut your debts in half?
The army will take you back now. If nothing else,
the journals fill with sanguine tales—
babies born inside out, the man who grew a second tongue.
Sorry, still no cure for congestion of the brain
but pills and things you tried:
Start saying weird shit to people.
Point to the cherubims and say
“Dude, check out those nude little dudes,”
and watch how professional eyes
grow wide as freaked apes, saying
You’ve got the wrong place,
go out on Lexington, go join the crack addicts;
they dance like flamingoes all day at the market.
It’s tempting, but hey,
we all need a paycheck,
so I stick til the end,
the last one still expecting more
than a case of e. coli and a belly of confections.
Even my eyelash parasites flee
cuz the charm of guessing con men
from the destitute has gotten to be old,
and I never read my tickets when I play for lottery gold.
Tell me if nervous laughter is drifting over
You correct the ghosts.