Thomas O. Davenport, 1/6/2020

Current Occupation: Independent consultant and writer

Former Occupation: Consultant

Contact Information: Tom is a poet and independent business advisor living in San Francisco. He spent 32 years as a human resource consultant for a global consulting organization. He has written three business books and many serious articles and now writes sardonic verse, much of it commenting on business practices he observed (and helped create) and on social phenomena that amuse and bemuse him. You can read his writings (verse and other) at Procure a copy of these and other poems Spring 2020 in his collection, “Get the Hell to Work,” to be published by Kelsay Books.





You’re feeling stress today, I sense

Your brow is knit, your posture tense

Did I just hear you whine a bit?

I urge you to get over it


We all have tasks that must be done

We work, you know, from sun to sun

Just like an old-time farmer’s wife

Our life’s our work, our work’s our life


The workload’s grown a lot, that’s true

Could that be what’s oppressing you?

Demands are high, the time is tight

Perhaps that keeps you up at night


I heard your spouse is leaving too

Your monthly mortgage payment’s due

Your car may soon be repossessed

It’s no surprise that you are stressed


These strains, I’m sure, could make you ill

You might just need to take a pill

Prozac? Xanax? or Tylenol?

That’s just a few – you know them all


Or you might have a heart attack

And if you did, would you come back?

Or would it lead to your demise?

For, as we know, everyone dies


If you should die, for heaven’s sake

I promise I’ll attend your wake

Unless it comes at our month end

You know how busy we are then




Today is the meeting, the biggest all year

I’ll need 40 minutes to get there from here

The GPS gives me this very good news

It starts in an hour, and so I can cruise

I’ll stop for donut, my favorite nosh

I’ve plenty of time to arrive with panache


Drive out of the driveway, right, left, and then straight

I’ve truckloads of time, so no way I’ll be late

Swing wide toward the on ramp, that curvy asphalt

And that’s when all progress just grinds to a halt 

Ahead, endless rows of inert metal blocks  

Not moving at all, they’re like so many rocks


Each one is adorned with two glowing red lights

Electric tomatoes, one left and one right

They stretch on forever, and yet they don’t budge

They’d been there for hours, if I were to judge

And meanwhile the clock’s hands are spinning with glee
To mock me, they’re saying, “You’ll never break free.”  


But then a solution takes shape in my brain

A way that perhaps I can lessen the strain

The car pool lane beckons me, just to my left

A black flowing river, of traffic bereft

The imp on my shoulder says, “Do it, who’ll know?”

My conscience? I dropped that off six miles ago


Check mirror and signal, cross over the stripe

I’m nervous for sure, not the law-breaking type

At 75 I can get there in time

And with any luck I won’t pay for my crime

But what’s in my mirror? One more blinking light

Pull over, it tells me, it’s red and it’s bright


I come to a halt, I’m resigned to my fate

At least now I have an excuse to be late


Cooking the Books


The culinary arts, his specialty

Transforming sour results to taste more sweet

While skillfully avoiding penalties

The master of the dubious spreadsheet


He mixed the apples with the orange fruit

Confusing those whose prying eyes spied in

No cause could they devise to prosecute

For never did he spill a single bean


Sautés and stews and casseroles his range   

A million ways to fricassee the books

Protecting value on the stock exchange 

More skilled by far than other crooked cooks


And once a year he’d throw a grand soiree

His April 15th greenback barbecue

The menu ran from salad to sorbet

Not present there? Internal Revenue


For he must forestall paying our tax claims

Those levies he cannot fail to defray

Else profits will all disappear in flames

The books won’t be cooked – they will be flambé-ed  



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