Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Originally uploaded by yuweiquan
On The Use of Office Products as Beauty Aids
Linda Dyer

"I have known the inexorable sadness of pencils,
Neat in their boxes, dolor of pad and paper-weight..."
--Theodore Roethke

Free use of office supplies
could be called a benefit
of my profession; I'm never
without remedies. Paper clip
holds a teased hairdo,
package tape around my waist
gives me form; ledger green
correction fluid makes a fine
eyeshadow: smart
as well as practical.
Say it's true the unkind
words of others actually cling
to our skin until we bathe;
I use file-folders under
my blouse as a deflector-vest.
This is the life I live
so that out of it
I can create another.
With an arsenal of mechanical
pencils and hand-held dictaphone
I go into the night
and walk with the moon
down urination alley
to the employee parking lot,
skirt held with a binder clip
where a button failed.

But the policeman assumes something
disloyal about the three-hole punch
and postage meter under my arm
and invites me to the station,
where he takes my fingerprints,
one of which looks unusual to him
with its series of dots, until
he recognizes I'm wearing
one of those rubber fingers
a secretary uses to page through
deposition volumes looking for
some defendant's name,
the very name which paused
the stenographer's fingers
over a shorthand machine--
think of the testimony lost
while she spelled it
letter by letter.

The cop questions me: how long
have I been at my job, do I
get retirement, why a not-bad-looking
woman would stay so late
on a weekend without extra
pay? I tell him about the scientist
who suggested that our moon
influenced the tides -- how he
was considered not only foolish,
but a dangerous occultist
by his scientific peers;
yes, the very moon walked upon by men,
the one consulted by lovers to predict
good fortune or impermanence,
the one which will follow me home.

(c) 2001 by Linda Dyer