Doug Spangle, 8/31/2009
Current Occupation: Maritime Communication Specialist
Former Occupations: Ma & Pa Store Clerk, Stagehand, Hotel Night Clerk, etc.
Contact Information: Douglas Spangle has rattled around the Portland literary scene since 1978 as poet, editor, translator, proofreader, book reviewer, KBOO radio host, open mike emcee, and all-round nuisance. Don’t get him started.
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A Short Essay on the Modern Workplace
So it goes
from the moment I first step in,
disrupt the airflow
in the highrise’s climate control
from one end of the suite to the other.
The fans continue huffing all day and night.
A stream of data
flows through the room, comes
to reside in the atlas, in Lloyd’s Register;
enriching reports with transitory digits, it
plumes into the computer terminal
at which I dabble my fingers
as in the very far past
my ancestors would have groped trout,
grubbed turnips, run swine and kine
through dust and mud
to the commons.
I prick my ears
for bells and whistles, tones
on a radio, I switch and patch phones,
“continue to monitor”
the way a peasant would nap in shadow,
though my light spreads no heat.
Call it work,
this management of information. I do,
and consider myself good at it,
like any journeyman would,
giving out the right answers
as an honest miller would give proper measure.
Like the farmer
plodding behind an ox,
I nurture and provide
for those who haven’t space or resource;
in another wise,
I am like the priest,
concerned with matters past my arm’s reach,
pulling numbers from nowhere,
drawing instruction from an unseen source,
conversant with the course,
I claim, of great waters
that contain the quartered earth.