How to Abide on Queue

be calmer than an earlobe
but alert to subtle sound
quiet as a muscle twitch
as sterling as a pound

be lofty like the heavens
as consistent as a judge
unattached as fleeting clouds
be disinclined budge

reflective like a polished tile
be brighter than a flame
stoic as a VP’s portrait
valid as a claim

right like rain, and true as grit
determined as a dog
be quiet like a bell rope
and well rested as a log

be patient as a telephone
and sounder than a ring
stiller than a sheeted corpse
but proper, like a king

be ready like a boxer’s glove
for when they call it out
a name upon the intercom
it’s you, there is no doubt

.

The Waiting Room

the waiting room wall
is papered over in
tersely worded prohibitions

in a back room somewhere the humming
and shucking of a laserjet printer
as it spews out even more of them

NO CHECKS
NO COUNTER-CLOCKWISE CIRCULATION
NO THEORIZING

there is plenty to not do
here while I wait and more than enough
people to make a team effort of it

what’s a mother not to do? I ask
a woman with an infant on her knee
sh, she says, no talking

I turn in my seat and realize there are
more signs behind me that I had not seen
assembled beneath a bumper crop of pushpins

NO HAVOC
NO CLOUD FORMATIONS
NO SILICONE VALLEYS

I set myself the task of doing nothing at all
brilliantly creating a kind of legal blanket
covering every possible prohibition

it is a nice idea, but
this is easier said than not done
because my mind stays busy even at idle

I hope they call my name soon, I think
and then I see the sign posted behind the hat
of the tall man seated across from me

NO NAME CALLING