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Fragments From a Stint As a Corporate Employee, Or:

by Ariane Scott

Explanations for a Four Year Courtship With Writer’s Block


22 degrees tomorrow.
Makes you want to kill a man. Doesn’t it.

At work we rally round a scanty stage,
pledge money to United Way.

Back in our cubes, Brett asks to borrow a fiver for gas;
Karen gives it to him. Karen is $25 short for daycare;
I give it to her. But sometimes we rival
the pitch of our problems and hiss.



The commute home, on the radio:
A squalid house exposed. Babies covered
in vomit and piss. Shit in a five gallon bucket
when the toilet backed up.

Four inches of snow on the highway
means it’ll be hours

until we’re home.



March is a bitter wind in the skin
and never ending.

Around the city we snipe
and swerve, trip to the ditch.
Sometime back in February,
we became the things
from which the snow draws its pallor.



Each winter we almost die but May-
-always May arrives.
So this year I will dig and peer,
search and peel.

I understand you must not hesitate in May.



(This year May brings nothing
I can use.)



Stoplights throw their heat
all the way to July a month before
we’d even arrive,
back when we
back back when we
back when we were

still stuttering
about April things.



All the words
we never wrote
ball themselves
and spin away.



Deb enters my cube to tell about the size of her teenage son’s hard-on from beneath the blanket he wears as he sprawls on the couch. She is serious and magnificent. I want to write poems about her stance, about the way she leans forward to hiss: Suck.It.Up. I tried writing poems all May about Deb, I tried writing poems all May about May. So dissapointed in May; I kept waiting for it to bring me something I could use. Each winter I almost die and each thaw April is confused but May is always resolute. You must not hesitate in May. But this spring, nothing, and now we’re in August and it’s damp, evidence that last week’s heat was just haze beamed from another dimension to here. Too many months unwritten and now it’s complicated. Yarns left unraveled, lies never told. Truth spins and balls away.



Geese swarm the company parking lot
all night to feed on insects lured
by the thick yellow spotlights;
it’s their right to smudge the dawn
with the consequences.
8 am comes and we wade into work,
careful not to step in the green piles.



At work the girls are talking about last October's blizzard.
Christine says her uncle is the chief meteorologist at the airport
and he actually received hate mail for failing to predict the ice and the snow--
But it came out of nowhere, says Kristi.
No one predicted it.



whisper; this.need.for.sleep.so.quiet.on.your.face.even.as.your.bones.shriek.

It’s always morning.



Andy is a writer. We’re at work
and he’s telling me it’s this place
that kills it. Sentiments grasped; connections
never made. But Deb is in my cube
and she’s talking about her teenage son’s penis.
I tell her my son has a beautiful white crop of hair.
He hates it. At 6 he’s already found a facet of himself
to loathe. Deb stares at me. Maureen walks by, growls at Andy
about workload. Deb leans at Maureen and hisses, “Suck.It.Up.”


Posted on 08/06/2011
Copyright © 2021 Ariane Scott

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Linda Fuller on 08/06/11 at 02:04 AM

Suffice to say I love this.

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 08/06/11 at 02:02 PM

Great idea- a year in a poem- you nailed it.

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/06/11 at 08:43 PM

Raw and compelling. Loved it.

Posted by Gabriel Ricard on 08/06/11 at 11:40 PM

This is just a whole lot of brilliant.

Posted by Felicia Aguilar on 08/07/11 at 04:58 PM

Ohhh, I love this. I love everything about it.

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 08/08/11 at 08:21 PM

Dilbert gone mad and the calendar gone madder...brilliant and original work, the best of its kind I've seen here in a long, long while (this critique written, where else, in my corporate cubicle)

Posted by Meghan Helmich on 08/08/11 at 08:33 PM

I'm in love with this idea. You must work at Bank of America, because this is my life...minus the snow plus wilting heat.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 08/09/11 at 03:55 AM

The monthly breadown works quite well here, original, with the various constructions moving the whole thing nicely along. Thought provoking from start to finish.

Posted by David Hill on 08/10/11 at 12:42 AM

I enjoyed reading this. Offbeat and full of interesting oddball details that create little mental pictures.

Posted by Charlie Morgan on 08/11/11 at 12:39 AM

..so much said by you; vigorously healthy, i stammer to type what others have said. echoing all, i salute a well-formd, well-delivered piece. so real one can reach over your cubicle and touch you, orrr someone talkikng about their sons *****. ;)

Posted by Tony Whitaker on 08/11/11 at 08:51 PM

I feel my folded face as I digest this very odd. but quite compelling piece. Bravo...I think?

Posted by Laura Doom on 10/29/11 at 11:27 AM

Calendar -- perfect receptacle for cubes, squaring up to root formulations. There is too much dirt here to be touched by soap...makes me want to date death on a regular basis.

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