Carolyn Gregory, 4/10/2011

Current Occupation: Free lance classical music and theatre arts reviewer for STYLUS and community activist
Former Occupation: Academic hospital administrator and grant writer
Contact Information: Carolyn Gregory has published poems and music/theatre reviews in American Poetry Review, Seattle Review, Bellowing Ark, Main Street Rag, Wilderness House Literary Review and STYLUS. Her full length book, Open Letters, was published in Boston in 2009 and her next book, Scenario, is due for publication this year.


The Job Review

Like a boil, my worry popped this morning
when the managers took me in
and updated my review :
Competencies unmet. . .

my sins too grievous to mention for polite folk,
my hands sweaty, folded in my lap,
incapable of prayer.

When I woke today,
Louis Armstrong sang
Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen,
Nobody knows my sorrow. . .
In my mind’s eye,
New Orleans floated by on a bloody mattress.

Once again, I’ve failed.
Too tall, too left-handed,
too disorganized, et cetera.
It’s time for another public whipping –

Bind my wrists,
shoot little flaming arrows into my flesh
and shut the door on my grievances. . .

In the bigger scheme,
my voice doesn’t count,
just the ability to say
Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am,
type up a storm of spreadsheets
and prop up a sagging floor plan.


In the Scheduling Office

A sales rep calls from Perceptive
as someone pages Dr. Ivan Ho overhead.
The transport gurney wheels patients for IV lines
and contrasts of arteries and veins.
Everywhere, there are screens full of ultrasounds.

In Radiology, it’s a regular archaeological dig!
Phone calls fly on little wings,
doctors analyze 3D films of abdomens,
scanned for disaster.

Invisible, I sit behind my bunker shield,
ducking facts and personalities.
A doctor says 6,000 veins a week get billed.
Another’s lost his pocket scheduler,
cursing in Spanish.
Another dictates upper case AORTA,
upper case ANEURYSM.
His report goes into the talk station.

My day is most peculiar and surreal.
A nurse thanks me for being kind
though I sounded gruff.
Dr. S talks about the Ivory Tower
to a pretty clerk smiling like Snow White
as she counts down to lunch.

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