Rachel Voss, 5/28/2012

Current occupation: high school English teacher

Former occupation: day care worker, nanny/chauffeur, secretary

Contact Information: Rachel Voss is a high school English teacher (happily, her life’s work) and lives in Astoria, New York. Her work has previously appeared in Borderline Poetry and Hanging Loose Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Prompt.


From my Bureau

You could say bureaucracy isn’t
conducive to poetry—it sucks

souls out, guts us
and fills the hole, inhabiting

the body and talking through
pursed lips like ventriloquists.

In this version, we speak as someone else,
not “expressing ourselves”—automatons spouting

empty jargon, bleeding meaningless
stuffing like over-used rag dolls.

How we pine for truth
and authenticity, a verb

to call our own.
Or, you might suggest,

bureaucratic blather is a song,
language stitched together in an almost

fantastical way—nursery rhymes
on desks, odes to dolor.

How doth the vertical articulation
improve his differentiated pods

and raft the backward-designed benchmarks
from every aligned dipstick.”

In this version, we compose
poems from paperwork,

use euphemisms against themselves.
In this version, I

disappears from the poem
altogether—what emerges is poetry,

or it’s pointless, like the lies
we tell ourselves to get through the day.
In this version, I simultaneously
impress and depress myself,

bard of the mundane,
title in a memo.

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