Canaries and cherries and violets on my mind
I went to work Day One,
each breath a letter I adored. Tra la la.
Light jazz does nothing
to dissuade such a third-string secretary
from doubting that fresh face in the mirror
can use his English for the good of man
and the working world.
It’s all a rumor til you’re in the door.
But eavesdropping’s easy among those absorbed
brokers demanding vitriolic lawn-care over the phone
exuding boy wonder as their neck skin flares,
barbecue sauce glued to the maw.
Only the clock has time to lick its face
behind the bonsai tree. Disgusting, still,
the poor bastards need a break.
Say the jobs report or China or Fallooojah
has spooked the mayor bad,
turned cocktails with their local newscaster
into a real brouhaha.
Even the draftee long-shot-to-make-the-team
is making threats you don’t fuck with now. Christ!
Predicting what history is relevant
in a market like that’s a lottery of waves—
less safe than throwing a dart around the world
and expecting it to home.
I could tell by the plague of post-it notes
crumpled in trash bins I’d empty every afternoon—
the best of us are mistaken,
most of the time,
about what will pay off—
wind up staring at the calendar cubes,
impaled like a shish kebab one week away,
more ink than space denoting a bikini wax,
a golf course rendezvous,
a game of water polo, then with Thursday’s
Bahama island wedding,
some diuretic of the spirit drunk,
how we cruise through open harbors
slurring Jimmy Buffet tunes.
“What are you doing in there sir?”
“Excuse me ma’am. I’m just a temp,”
such an ironclad excusefor one’s incompetence.