No Office for Old Men

FADE IN:

EXTERIOR:  OFFICE PARK     MORNING

Sun rising over landscaped office park. Sprinklers
raise a mist in the golden light. The voice
of an old man:


                    Voice Over

        I was manager of this office when I was
        twenty-five. Hard to believe. Grandfather
        was management. Father too. Me and him was
        managers at the same time, him up in Peoria
        and me down here. I think he was pretty proud
        of that. I know I was.


We dissolve to another view of the park.
No people, or movement.


        Some of the old-time managers never even
        used out-sourced labor. A lot of folks
        find that hard to believe.

                                   
We dissolve through differing views of cube farms
and interior office environs all empty, some
with the lights out.


        I always liked to hear about the old-
        timers. Never missed a chance to do so.
        You can’t help but compare yourself against the
        old timers. Can’t help but wonder how they
        would’ve operated these times.


CLOSE-UP a RED Swingline stapler.


        The kind of dimwitted slackers apply for work
        today, it’s hard to even take its measure.


Camera pans up to reveal a chubby man sitting
at the desk: Milton Waddams.

MILTON is muttering under the Voice Over.


        I always knew you had to be a complete bastard
        to even do this job. But I don’t want to push my
        chips forward and find I downsized the wrong
        character.

        You could say it’s my job to destroy the souls of
        these cube muppets but I don’t even want to know
        what falls out when you tip the wrong HR jacket.

                       MILTON

        mutter mutter I’ll burn the place down is
        what I’ll do.

(Written around 2012.)

One Hundred Years of Attitude

The poem half belongs to the reader.

The poetry, the novel. Writers shepherd things into place, they are just words after all. The reader does half the lifting. But once they start gorging on films of literary origin, the teeth of the imagination begin to rot.

Consume the processed product of someone else’s imagination? Take the sirloin in pill form why don’t we. No gristle to pick from your teeth. Literature ignites the imagination, that’s what reading does. Watching a flickering screen, it is numbed. The imagination is anesthetized. But by all means, let Neflix make a Game of Thrones out of Garcia-Marquez, what could go wrong? Youth are remaking the world as we speak, it is not ours any more, us old farts. I worry about all the wrong things.

I have attitudes that mean nothing to anyone but me. They are like my children. I give them names and watch them grow up. Weep when they do poorly in school, or start stealing cars. It is a derangement I hold dear. One Hundred Years of Solitude will no doubt become the Breaking Bad of magical realism. It does not touch me. I have already built my own copy of that world.

Ever so slowly, I rise, and applaud.

The Bourne Perplexity

honed skillsets
every move precise
deeply ingrained, every how
but not a trace of why
the headaches
he can remember everything
but who he is

identity is a mystery
for the trained assassin
and the shift worker
alike

look at what they
made you give

Film Haiku No. 4

Children of Men (2006)
Julianne Moore, Clive Owen, Michael Caine

~

hippie Michael Caine
Clive Owen with a hip flask
tries strawberry cough

~

world has gone to shit
immigrants are scapegoated
sounds familiar

~

grimy dark future
humankind is infertile
an apt extinction

Film Haiku No. 3

Rounders (1998)
Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Gretchen Mol, #spoilers

~

a dodgy friendship
ensnared by his loyalties
missteps and hard knocks

~

an interest in law
interferes with his calling
this hold’em genius

~

Teddy’s cookie tells
that ace could not have helped him
he flops a nut straight

Film Haiku No. 2

Song to Song (2017)
Terrence Malick | Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender

~

momentarily
wandering in vast spaces
a face, in close-up

~

momentarily
they speak, digress, turn corners
romance and friction

~

momentarily
we breathe, movement and gesture
time, going sideways