NaPoWriMo 16

(Thanks, Kelli, for the idea.)

You Are Not Your Salary

But you are the pens, the paper,
the report due yesterday
with its charts and figures,
You’re the tilting desk
that no one, not even you,
bothers to fix. Take a swig
of burnt coffee and get to it.
You fix things, you buy things,
you’re a connector, a decider,
you find mistakes in reports buried
like gems in the coal mines of words.
You are also the banter, the fodder,
the guffaw in the corner office,
the high five and the back slap.
You’re the secret knowledge
that you’re the only one here
who has a clue. How quickly
the hours move as you buy time.
Some days, you’re a wealth of information
in a economy of scale. On others,
you’re the artificial sun of florescent lights
shining overhead. That being said,
you are not your salary, you never will be.
You are the window overlooking
the golf course and the happy golfers
hitting balls into oblivion.


Kelli said…
Great poem! I'm happy to have inspired it (though I think the title I used was a line from "Fight Club").

Anyway, it's always to see what sparks a poem. I'm happy to hear it was me (esp. b/c I had put down my tax return records!) ;-) Personal stuff there!

Only 13 days left!
January said…
Oops. Thanks Kelli. I'll modify my post.

Woo hoo, 13 days.
Kelli said…
Hi January,

I just looked it up, here's the exact line from Fight Club--

"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet."

So it looked as if I just sort of improvised a bit.
evie said…
i like this a lot! it feels sort of billy collins-esque (not meant as a slam -- in case you're a non-fan of collins), partly because it has a bit of deadpan humor and partly because i can't help hearing that poem of his that begins "you are the bread and the knife, the crystal goblet and the wine. . ." and then turns to "however, you are not the wind in the orchard, the plums on the counter, or the house of cards. . ." : ) it's called "litany" -- if you haven't read it, google it. it's hilarious. so, above and beyond all this, i like your poem, not least of all the last lines, which are so ripely and wittily ambiguous!
January said…
Evie, it's funny you say that because I thought Billy Collins had a poem like that. I am a fan of his and I could hear that poem's rhythm in my head but couldn't remember which poem was his.

I'm glad that I couldn't find the Collins poem, and equally as glad that I improvised on Kelli's improvised quote.
Anonymous said…
Yeah, I caught the Fight Club vibe there. Good job turning that around, though. We are what we do in a lot of ways, whether we like it or not.

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