copy clerk

the table waits, eight or so in a broken line,
take this, but watch the edges, a paper cut away,

a room of white & grey, too much grey,
follow work-flow, workplace understanding,

it’s a mess of this & that, but the name,
dress to suit, don’t look up, camera eye,

security & the old man who pushes mail through
a machine, find food, but here we go,

paper upon paper, file & forget,
the experts of prep, with a gap in diversity,

a serial reinforcement across the floor,
remove sticky notes & staples,

don’t read too much, but information is
important, & here we are,

smile & look away, bald head & glasses,
wandering eyes watch the copier copy,

then again, perforated edges, cough &
smoke exhales, over the next few days,

the room will grow, smaller, to miss
the open space, the moments within,

arms against, now again, a return,
accents in voices, the nasal sound

of time & broken vowels, listen,
but here, this short ceiling, these cubes,

a room slipped inside as an after-thought,
the stamper stamps, they know their way around,

the upbeat onset of a job accepted, what cost,
paper, a question extended, think

within contained parameters, feed
the scanner, sort & lift the tray,

read into lines
& broken ideologies

— a place on hollis —

on pages of skin, ink set into
vessels, black marks of history &
missing memories, nights spent in
dark glasses, the leather clatter of
conversations, spilt ideas, hands
resting on broken chairs, music
in some kind of distant corner,
yellow smoke & the sound of
wood cracking over the pressure
of falling, it isn’t in the air,
some small hole in the side door,
there is a sense of listening
in the honesty of grey eyes, three
day old facial hair, but when
the clock reaches for closing,
a match book, half used,
lights the last cigarette