It Could Work

The US tax base is declining
with an aging America.
Who will pay for a
growing population
of senior citizens?
a crumbling infrastructure?
the education and health care of
12 million illegal immigrants?
Broaden the tax base: Legalize them.

ISIL, Al Qaeda, Assad.
No one wants them around,
but no one wants to go to war.
Send an army across
Syria, Iraq, Iran
of sneezing, sweating
victims carrying Ebola.
Instruct them to shake everyone’s hand.

So much debt, poverty, food insecurity.
So much money at the top and rising,
which is simply simple math –
5% of $100 is $5.
5% of $1 million is $50,000.
5% of $1 is a nickel.
You have to have money to make money.
Here’s a thought: Have the Top 1%
give 1% of their money to the rest of us.

Okay. That’ll never happen.
But the Ebola army?
So worth a try.

September 21

The farmers’ market smells of
dirt and root vegetables
and the first apples of the season.

Old-fashioned Ida Red, freckled
Baldwins, the white flesh of
McIntosh thump against
the bottom of the black stock pot.

Steam sifts through the screened
window where summer meets fall
and fall is still summer.

From the little boy on the corner of Orkney and York

I’m not angry.
I’m hurt or scared
or embarrassed.
Don’t humiliate me.
Not at home. Not at school.
Not on the street.
Don’t show the world
how powerful you are
by yelling at me,
slapping me.
Show the world how strong
you are when you hug me.

Acknowledge me.

You’re hurt and scared
and embarrassed.
Be strong through kindness.
Feel your anger leave.


We were given an 8 to 5 workday.
They added overtime.
We came in earlier,
stayed late.
Next month the 8-hour day
will become 10-hour shifts,
covering the 7 to 4 workday –
7 a.m. to 4 a.m.

They say it’s optimizing
our work schedules
to meet our customers’ needs.
We say, “I can’t get child care
at 9 o’clock at night” and
“My night course starts next month.”
They tell us, “It’s your job,”
dismissing complaints with an irritated shrug.

The VPs and the senior VPs
and the very president himself
enumerate the endless benefits
of working at BankBig:
We give you reduced ticket prices to concerts
and baseball games and discounts on laptops
and bonus points if you use your BankBig credit card
at Nordstrom and Lowe’s –
and we barely score 30% job satisfaction?
With scorn and disbelief they ask,
“What is wrong with these people?”

Next month, the week I start
my 8 p.m. shift, I’ll take
the annual employee survey.
They could use a lesson in optimization.