Drew Pisarra, 2/1/2016
Current Occupation: VP Digital Media & Marketing
Former Occupation: Paperboy
Contact Information: Drew has worked as a clerk in a travel bookstore, an administrative assistant in an advertising agency, and a stenographer for a legal department.
The security guy once told me:
Don’t lie down in the elevator.
I can see you. Don’t do that.
Take the stairs instead.
You may think you’re alone
but you’re not.
There’s no privacy in skyscrapers,
no downtime when skyrocketing
from Floor 1 to Floor 100,
regardless of the occupancy.
I find it’s loneliest inside
a service elevator going down.
I’ve never intentionally
traveled to the sub-basements but
one time the elevator suddenly dropped
then opened its doors
on what looked like a support group
of broken lamps. Doors shut
then opened again
on the quietest lobby I’d ever seen —
Sound held its breath.
Sound couldn’t breathe.
A final button suggested a floor
further down but I didn’t have the key.
And so I waited for the elevator
to rise. I waited but nothing…
Behind one little metal door
in the elevator wall, I uncovered
a keyboard in need of a code
only security knew.
Paranoia censors. Paranoia keeps
you quiet and still. Breathe deep.
Wave to the camera.
A blinking red light indicates
that help is on the way.
I once prank-pushed the red button
that sets off the alarm which set me free
from that job forever for better or worse.
Age of Retirement
The year is 2030.
I imagine it’s June.
I’m leaving a party
where everyone tells me
how youthful I look
and how there’ll never be
another one like me
(though two people
mispronounce my name).
I’ve been given a watch, not just any old watch,
it’s a watch that’s a phone and a fan and a laser
scissor and a virtual pet and a karaoke machine
and a calorie counter and an acupuncturist
and a homing device and a portable therapist
with multiple degrees. And so I ask it for help.
Who am I?
Who wants to know?
Why am I here?
Why do you ask?
What should I do?
What would you say?
Should I continue?
I couldn’t say.
How would you cope?
We’re discussing you, not me.
Okay, I say. Okay.
I turn to the forms on my desktop,
each sheet, filled with rows
of empty boxes, half yes, half no.
There are numbered sections
and sections for numbers
but I can’t find the place for my name.
My watch is texting me now:
Are we done? Is there more?
Done with what? More of what?
Is there more? Are you done?
Is it texting or sexting? There’s always
more. This watch is rambling.
It never was built to tell
what time is for. So sound the alarm.
Ode to a Listening Workshop
In Conference Room K, 14 eager drones,
hardworking worker bees six feet tall,
sit quiet as a hive of clones of clones,
as Speaker A establishes today’s protocol
for good listening. It’s time to lean in,
to nod in agreement, to parrot back phrases
that belie comprehension,
to simulate complete understanding
by putting “your echoing face…in place.”
Meaning is nothing compared to perception.
Some are here because they’ve volunteered.
Some, because their bosses insisted they go.
Others, because not coming felt weird
and they didn’t know how to say no
without sounding smug. Speaker A’s spiel
drags on. Minds drift. Participants
doodle, yawn, refocus, then think
about lunch. The workshop’s unreal
ideas resurface then crunch, ambivalence
hangs in the air. No one blinks.
If money is honey, this too can be said:
I have licked many times off the golden dish
and flossed my teeth with platinum thread
without ever feeling rich. Oft times, I’ve wished
I could do more than “attend” as told
which seems like a faux rapport. Trust
should be rooted, not role-played, so when
Speaker A insists, since my arms are folded,
to unfold… I don’t. Instead, I secretly cuss
behind a grin that makes clear I’m not listening.