I check my smartphone,
False promises of something,
More colorful than
The structured jungles of Excel.
It is the fourteenth reply on a farewell thread,
Someone I don't recognize leaving
The dead-ends of this efficient maze
Of serpentine e-mails and evil conference rooms;
Why did he CC me on this plastic string
Of styrofoam well-wishes spun into rote shapes?
Perhaps some water cooler conversation,
With a stranger to pass a self-imposed break.
I smile too much.
There is a man in or out of Google,
The Father of digital carbon copies,
Awaited by an army of sullen Johns and Janes,
Cheap ties, reluctant perfumes,
Straps of mismatched leather,
Their fingers typing air out of habit,
Waiting with staplers and hot coffee cups,
Granted lethality in frustrated hands.
I jerk my head, swum back to a cubicle,
By the turgid tides of baser concerns,
I meet deadlines and breathe life into timelines,
With the urgency of an Olympic athlete
Rushing to meet the clock,
A date with Time that ends before it starts,
The to-do list a colorful montage
Of the deeds, I will measure my life with,
Woven into a one-page career snapshot;
I spend the better half of my day to chisel
A document I never want to use.
I look at the ninth cup of sugar-laced caffeine,
In a hand not yet trembling to cause worry,
Chuckling at my mother's concerns for my diet;
She expects an emaciated son,
And will be sent a bloated prune.
I check my screen's inbox this time,
Hoping to find bold Subject Lines,
Heralds of battles wons in some faraway cabins,
Only to find another pair of eyes added to
The charade my requests have become,
As if the apathy of their stares will yield
Answers that escaped me,
Breathe their hands into motion.
Their machines and energies could avenge
The quiet death of long-forgotten plans,
Models made in morning meetings,
Were they to justify the existence of markers?
Death by encroachment
Of more ephemeral towns and villages,
On the maps to the promised land,
Waiting to evaporate and become clouds,
As asphalt will be laid across fancier valleys,
Their outlines in some Drive to find faces in.
I crane my neck to check my colleagues,
If their stomachs have quacked yet,
Even though mine hasn't spoken to me,
And I project hunger to hit in two hours.
My lunch tastes tastier than my maid makes it,
Flavours driven on runaway conversations,
And gossips born to half-understood missives,
Colorful whims that I can confirm the absurdity of,
But chose to laugh at.
I laugh too much.
I rush down the open spaces,
A hundred eyes pivot to my busy routine,
Yes, sir, I have a meeting to rush to,
The tea-bags await my empty thirst,
The pantry lonely without my visits,
No meaning to our staff's efforts
To refill milk cisterns and stock biscuits,
Coffers that I dutifully drain,
Our budgets would never add up otherwise,
And a bored accountant would wonder what changed.
Yes, sir, I am quite philanthropic that way.
I send a reminder on data I had asked for,
Two thousand daydreams ago,
Hoping that she had motivation to pursue
These quests with more compunction
Than I can hope to create with alerts
On a smartphone, she hates to check now.
My lecherous subconscious spots a smile,
Raw results of its research quickly whispered,
Yes, a lipstick curve to decorate a song of curves,
And the next thing I know
I am drowning,
In memories of an ex I kept away
For a record high of three hours today,
My college days accompanying the train,
I the sole passenger, the sole driver,
The sole casualty.
An arbitrary move to change tack:
I unplug the laptop too stylish for olive-green graphs,
Ready to wander with it to the many terraces
Where my operations have grinded to a halt,
To poke a lance into the eyes of surly officers,
Occupied in alien schemes that do not matter,
As if my sole KRA is to annoy people into working,
My sole KPI the number of half-serious threats
I receive on the way back home.
Why do I think of home?
Am I not just as bored when I retire
With spent arms and spent legs?
Spent are my laughs,
Spent are my days.
But the sun is only at its peak yet,
Or so I would have known,
If not for the concrete awnings,
I turn back and check my ruts,
The path drawn with four-digit numbers and archived URLs,
Surprised to see the distance I negotiated,
In the span of a half-productive morning,
And only eleven cups of coffee and tea,
And just as suddenly I am besieged by echoes
That only unrealized potential can throw,
The March quarter quartered and fed
To rabid experiments.
But I know the company grows,
If only on my blood, sweat, and tears,
The valley terraformed with my every corpse,
Ennui dissolves me into mulch,
To give path to quicksilver skyscrapers,
Plazas borrowed from fantasies of young architects,
Rainbow discotheques decked with gray souls,
A Las Vegas of unapologetic festivity,
The ridges dotted with neon proclamations,
Blinking and twinkling much like the stars,
From my childhood rhymes,
And I hurry to walk and build brick after brick,
As I stare at the infested grasses,
A knife at my side to fight wolves.
I fight too much.
But I endeavor with the tenacity of weeds,
Seduced by the carrot far on the dim horizon,
Large enough to spur my hands and dreams,
That I may narrate the tale to my children,
Calligraphy and haiku to prison their imagination
In the metropolises of our success,
My boredom censored away by memories,
But for now I write those conquests
With my blood, sweat and tears.