How to deal with a disgruntled employee…

Signed, the Management

It has come to our attention
that you are dissatisfied
with the general experience
of living, or so it would seem;
your constant complaints,
derogatory remarks, groans,
sour grimaces and typical
passive-aggressiveness
leave us with no other option
than to conclude that you
would be happier with
some other company;
therefore, please be advised
that effective in the immediate
future, possibly within as few
as six months, your employment
will be terminated and
a severance package will
be negotiated at the
discretion of the management
based upon your history
of contributions made
during your time with us.

Signed, the Management

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Jack of all trades…

Oh, to be a Jack

Jack of all trades, master of none,
was the watchword back in the day
and I always found it so annoying;
an excuse, I was sure, to just ignore
so much going-on, available to me,
ready to become part of my little life
and make it big and exciting and alive;
but because of a distrust in abilities,
my grasp of every little thing, lacking
discernment, the inability to discern
between lust and love, hyper-attentive
distractedness, and the damnable
curiosity that kills cats, I was told
I just didn’t need to know because
people in power like to keep secrets
in order to keep it for themselves;
but I didn’t want their power,
I was no master, I just couldn’t stand
being happy with not being a Jack.

It’s normal not to be normal…

Maladaptive Adaptive

We don’t understand normal anymore,
don’t understand what’s happened, before
we’ve became the new black, the new average,
and maladaptive became all one could salvage.

Making-do and not expecting too much,
a reasonable way to cope – a sacred crutch;
lest any be forced to act out of compulsion,
a violation of will leading to convulsion.

The mushroom cloud of the family,
looms large on the horizon of the latchkey;
and any invocation of is dripping with guilt,
a poor rendering of the intricate human quilt.

This was not always our social affinity,
but an industrial product of economic viability;
accommodative adaptivity in a pragmatic vein,
we collect round the character campaign.

From Ozzie and Harriet, Ward and June,
to the village it takes to raise this tune;
we’re better off not asking too much of any
for disappointment weighs upon all heavy.

What’s it like to think like a dog…

A Dog’s Life

I’ve been reading a lot about dogs lately,
not on purpose, but because others are wondering
what dogs think when they look at us
quizzically, with heads tilted as if to understand,
assuming they want to communicate
out of pure devotion rather than appetite or instinct,
and this anthropomorphic projection
has them living an unfallen life, no dread of death
or long-term memory to sadden them,
but only the romance of bones buried in the prospect
of hope instead of grievous loss;
a simple life of smells, the next meal, distractions
to fill the time in between sleeping,
which we honor by allowing them to continue
in undisturbed, sage wisdom;
and we muse with Lockean ruminations they must
enjoy an indirect realism of
mental representations of cars and mailmen
as they infinitely regress in noise,
barking as if exhibiting a Wittgensteinian tractatus
of use trumping meaning every time,
whimpering that there is nothing outside the text
in an infinite play of squirrels and
more squirrels, until we have them supra-human
in a simplistic philanthropy we long for.

I planted a plant once…

Clematis or Rhizome

While we aspire to reach for the stars,
stretching to the sun, everyone a clematis,
it is the humble rhizome spreading
insidiously beneath the dirt, poking up
here and there, and there, and there
to glimpse the light, refresh just so briefly
to continue, submerged, intertwining and
crisscrossing invisibly that explains how
most of us survive on this spinning ball.

Can I go to the bathroom now…

Life’s a Stage

If life is a stage, then I am sitting in the audience
toward the back on the left side, wondering
when the intermission will begin and if
there will be enough time to go to the bathroom,
and maybe get something to eat at the concessions stand but the play
just keeps going and going without stop
and here I am, fidgeting and squirming
and praying for the end until I remember
this is life and I want to see what happens next.

Everyone else gives how-to advice, so here’s mine…

How-To

The way to live, in just a few words,
will include gratitude,
ignoring the din of reprisal, the choral
complaint that life
shouldn’t send our way the inelegance
and inconvenience,
that is tantamount to living itself;
following which we
might give consideration to joy,
as in, elation,
which is, of course, a difficult plan
to plan, but that’s
the challenge to living a how-to life;
and then simply add
tears, laughter, frowns and grins,
that is, have children,
your own or someone else’s will do,
for they’ll add all
that’s needed, if we’re appreciative
in the first place.

My little girl’s question…

The Hardest Part

My daughter asked what was the hardest thing
about… and I braced myself for her question, doubting
my ability to answer as I ought, hoping it was answerable
by her mother, that I would reply tactfully, and she
would know my love even when wrapped up in mistakes;
she had to repeat the question for me, about the hardest
thing about…learning to ride a bicycle, and as soon as
she said it I stopped myself, thought carefully, and said
it had to do with steering into the falling sensation – no one
liked that but it was the only way, along with continuous
peddling (you gotta keep peddling) to stay upright; she
had her own answer and blurted out, the hardest part
was the pavement and skipped haplessly out of the room
giggling, leaving me speechless and smiling in relief,
wondering why can’t all her questions be this much fun.

What kind of advice do you want to hear…

A How-To of Life

Since everyone is in the business
of giving advice—even advice about advice,
I thought I’d take my turn because
if no one listens to the advice of others
then why shouldn’t mine be ignored too.

Go to school, if you can, but don’t
try to enjoy tests or group projects with
people who never do their part
of the work, and don’t expect professors
to understand how ‘she’ didn’t do the work
because that’s the point of group projects.

Stop telling yourself that Bill Gates and
Steve Jobs dropped out of school and still
became billionaires, because you’re not
Bill Gates or Steve Jobs, unless you are
someone that special, then ignore this
advice because if they didn’t there would
have been no Bill Gates or Steve Jobs.

If there are leaves on the sidewalk
then shuffle your feet and even
kick some into the air and remember
the sound of their crunch and the
colors because soon they’ll rot and stain
and be hidden under snow and frustration.

When driving be sure to wave in
kindness when a stranger lets you merge
or even if you’re trying to merge and
no one seems to want to let you
because a sincere wave is more effective
than a turn signal just like being nice is
more effective than giving them the finger

Everyone likes to be told they’re special
even if it’s a logical tautology to say
that everyone is special so no one is
special, like the ‘no two snowflakes
are identical’ is also a lie but that doesn’t
stop us from liking to be told we’re special.

Stop running or walking long enough
to feel the breeze and try to enjoy it
especially if it smells like chocolate because
there are no calories in air and it could
smell so much worse than chocolate
and often does.

While we’re on the topic of smells,
always stop to smell a clean baby,
right after its bath but before it
reverts to its natural state, but
don’t be creepy about it and the only
a nice person, so be a nice person.

Looking for elbow grease…

Elbow Grease

I spent hours one day when just a boy
searching through the shelves of cans
and tins and tubs, of liquids and oils and
paints and lubricants with numbers
and names of weights and uses from
maintenance to remedies for sticky,
stubborn and/or stuck things for something
called elbow grease which I had never seen
or heard of until my father told me that was
what I lacked to loosen or tighten or tinker
with my bicycle’s training wheels which
I desperately wanted to remove although
warned that I’d fall because I wasn’t ready.