Featuring some poems written mostly at work.

For some music, click here.

One O'clock

How can it be? The
day's but half over.
Looking around, I've
nothing to do but
practice my acting
skills, as I sit and
try to perfect the
delicate art of
making it look like
I'm working hard. The
clock on the wall shows
how little time has
fled since I've started.

Memorial Weekend Feast

This last weekend turned out to be a mighty
feast. Our Saturday started with the beers we
drank at home before going out to dinner.
La Risata in Pasadena's Old Town
wasn't crowded. We started with caprese,
then a salad, (the one that's named for Caesar);
now the entree - a giant plate of gnocchi,
and a bottle of wine - a pinot noir. We
came back home and we had some apple pie, just
freshly baked, and we topped it off with ice cream.
In the morning, we had, along with coffee,
eggs and bacon, with hash-browns, toast and jam. At
four we started with drinks whose name defies the
meter: vodka and orange juice mixed together.
Then, for dinner, we had potato salad -
(very creamy) - then Caesar salad followed;
for our bottle of wine, a chardonnay. Then
crispy, crunchy fried chicken and some gravy,
rolls and corn on the cob made up the rest of
dinner. Pie ala mode was our dessert. For
breakfast, odd as it seems, we ate more pie and
ice cream. Also, we had a roll and gravy.
Janet even ate more potato salad.
For our cocktails in the afternoon, I
used the blender for lemon margaritas.
Then we both had a couple Irish whiskeys.
Monday's dinner was mostly food left over
from the one that we so enjoyed on Sunday.


Now the Republican party
says that it represents working
people, whatever their income,
race, creed or color. Oh, come on !
Who do they think they are fooling?

My Job

Here, on the seventeenth floor, we
sit in our offices, ever
counting the money that Disney
makes selling trinkets to children,
raking the profits by using
labor, and turning it into
capital lining the silken
pockets of wealthy shareholders.


How can a person take money,
buy raw materials cheaply,
pay, to the workers who add the
value, extremely low wages,
then sell the new, value added
product, and take up the lion's
share of the increase in value?


People who always get other
people to do their work for them
find, when the time ever comes they're
forced to rely on their own wits,
something is pitifully lacking.


Dreams that disturb us while sleeping,
(terrible ones we call nightmares),
pale when compared with the true life
horror of getting up early,
braving the wretched commute, then
wasting the day at the office.

My Day

I arrive at the office in the morning,
hang my coat on the door, and get a cup of
coffee, or, if the pot is cold and empty,
make a fresh one to have along with breakfast.
This consists of a donut, or a pastry,
or a cereal. Then I start the dreary
task of making myself look like I'm doing
work. I'll kill a few minutes in the bathroom.
Then it's back to the kitchen for a glass of
water. After a while, I head on down to
take a walk, or just lounge around the lobby.
Then it's back to my desk and looking busy,
faking work until lunch provides its welcome
break. Then back to the agonizing task of
doing practically nothing. Popcorn, cocoa,
candy, various other small diversions
fill the rest of the day, until it's time to
end the farce, and I finally make my exit.


Over beers I muse, and recall the day we
studied on a couch up in Kirchoff hall. The
room was crowded. Emerson, Lake and Palmer
played from a speaker.

As we left I made you a little offer.
"Drop a penny off of the mezzanine, and
hit the guy who's slumbering on the couch, a
level below us."

That you did, thus earning the quarter promised
by me when I made you the little offer.
Laughing, we ran out of the room, avoiding
any detection.

Albin's Drugs

This I recall from a day in
August of 'seventy-seven:
Hollywood Way and Magnolia
Boulevard meet a few blocks from
here, in the city of Burbank.
Now there's a Thrifty, but once the
name of the store on the southeast
corner - a drugstore - was Albin's.
Then, long ago, in the summer,
Danny O'Heron had many
flyers he needed delivered.
Placing the flyers on people's
cars, homes and lawns was my job. I
stopped to get lunch at the in-store
counter at Albin's. I heard a
customer taunting the waitress,
"Elvis, your hero, your lover's
dead." I cared little, as rock for
me had begun with the Beatles.
Elvis had seemed like an old-time
idol, not unlike Sinatra.
That I recall from a day in
August of 'seventy-seven.

Catullus 51

He who always sits with you, and who gazes
at you, and who hears you so sweetly laughing,
seems to me to equal a god, and sometimes
even surpass one -

if a thing like that is all right to say. What
misery! This rips away all my senses.
When I see you, Lesbia, I am tongue tied.
Words seem to fail.

Flames run through my body, and down my limbs. My
two ears ring and buzz, and my eyes now fail me,
covered, as they are, with a blinding darkness
blacker than midnight.

Your Hair

Once in a while, when I think how boring it is in my dreary
   office, I look in my drawer; something reminds me of you:
copper colored hair, wound up in a tight little ball - a
   part of you in my desk. Happier thoughts fill my mind.

Nobody Knows

Nobody knows what I do. My job is not noticed by nosy
   bosses who watch over all. Nobody knows what I do.
Decoys abound on my desk - some stacks of paper to make it
   look like I'm working hard. Decoys abound on my desk.
Seldom do I get a call. My phone just sits there in blessed
   silence for most of the day. Seldom do I get a call.
On the computer I play, since a modem allows me to access
   other computers from work. On the computer I play.
Poems take up some of my time, as it takes hard work to perfect the
   various meters and rhyme. Poems take up some of my time.
Food takes my mind off of work, and I spend lots of time in the kitchen
   getting a snack or a drink. Food takes my mind off of work.
quitting time comes, and I'm gone in a flash, bolting out of the door. I
   clear out as fast as I can. Quitting time comes, and I'm gone.

Bank Worker

Bank of America pays you to ask those in line if they have a
   simple transaction to do. I have no problem with that.
Grilling the customer, though...that starts to get very annoying.
   "No, thank you" should be enough. After that, leave me alone.

Cot Fantasy

After I rise from my soft warm
bed, and I drive off to work, a
cot would be nice there. My shiny
desk could be used to conceal the
evidence. When I would start to
feel I was falling asleep, I'd
go to my cot's secret drawer and
hurriedly open it up. Then
into the cot I would jump with
joy. No one out in the hall would
know that inside of the room I
lie, sleeping peacefully, and my
mind would be freed from the nagging
noise that disturbs it all day. The
others would not even note my
presence, or lack thereof, as I
quietly made up for all the
rest that I'd lost from a lack of
sleep. They go on with the daily
toil, while I snooze and I curl up
under a blanket. They can not
view me, for there is no clear, glass
window to see through. They'd need an
x-ray to see through the door. I
yearn for a world where my work day
zoomed by, as I lie there sleeping.

Lament On Moving to a New Size of Levi's

In jeans, a twenty-seven/thirty-six
once fit; but that was long ago. Then, soon,
I buttoned up a twenty-eight - and those
I wore for quite some time. Then twenty-nine
became the size I used for days on end.
It seems that as the years went by my stay
at each successive size was shorter than
the last; but then I managed for a while
to stanch the growth at waist size thirty-three.
I held there for a decent span of days,
but buttons burst, and could no longer hold
me in. Now, though the length remains the same
at thirty-six, the waist continues on
its outward march; and I now have to buy
my Levi 501s in thirty-four.

Internet Outage

The internet is out; and, so it seems,
the office is without a saving grace.
The time that I would spend in fertile surfing
now goes to waste. I wonder what we did
in those dark days before we were online.
I used to work with many crews of guys
who filled the idle time with playing craps,
or pitching coins when bosses were away.
These days, a sterile office is my shop;
and physical delights of yesteryear
have given way to staring at a screen,
with Gore's grand scheme providing many hours
of entertainment. But, alas, it's out.

On the Lookout

"To sit all day and always be prepared
for any boss or dark authority
to suddenly appear around the corner
and break the spell of blissful privacy
I've worked so hard to build up in this cube",
describes my work day aptly, I dare say.
The constant apprehension sometimes makes
it almost worth my while - though still not quite -
to do some work instead of goofing off.
Perhaps, I'll write to Marilyn on Facebook,
and reminisce about the time we bowled
at All Star Lanes. I kissed her on the mouth
when we were done, and then I left for home,
to wash myself for dinner with the family.

Click here to return to the Aulenta Center.

All poems Copyright 1996-2011 Ralph Aulenta