Back-to-school time

Students appear as if from nowhere
   in the fall
Wearing that eager, but scared look,
And a different energy soon permeates
   my neighborhood
Reminding me that another season has
And asking, why am I not in school?

Some people mark the passing of time
   on January 1,
But for me it is the first crisp day
   of autumn:
Fresh notebooks and new shoes,
Class schedules and syllabi,
And the promise of something learned
From the pages of hitherto unknown
Or the mouths of eccentric professors
Who have dedicated their lives to the
   sonnets of Shakespeare,
Or the history of Spanish colonial
Or a new English translation of Journey
   to the West

And as the days shorten and the wind
I vow that someday I will live my life
In obscure books of literary criticism,
In the yellowing letters between poet
   A and author B,
And measure my time by semesters
   and sabbaticals
And the stacks of papers to grade.

 **Hey, why are you sitting around reading blogs? Go take a class!
>> The University of Chicago Graham School of General Studies
>> Columbia College Center for Book & Paper Arts
>> Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies

Bottom line

Can I count on karma
To punish those beyond my reach,
Who have broken no law,
But have ill-used their fellows?

I watch the corporate games,
Tally the casualties, and wonder
Why are the good people so used?
Why do their oppressors not pay?

Will the meek truly inherit the earth?
Will those who suffer be rewarded?
When all the corporate profits turn
To dust, the only real goal left to meet
Will be kindness.

Mood swinging

I must be mood swinging
Because late last night
I twirled on my living room rug
Circling to music
As the cat chased cotton balls
Both of us giddy
For no apparent reason
And I was so euphoric
I hung another picture
With math and measuring tape
On an empty wall
And thought about buying
Those red and black bar stools
With seats that spin
It’s only money after all
And my mood still swung
The next morning
As I walked humming
In the lovely heat of late May
My black skirt flouncing around
My winter white legs
Bouncing into the office
Almost, almost twirling
And then – ever so slowly
Between conference calls
And aggressive emails
Some unknown force
Beat the joyfulness from my heart
Until I felt an overwhelming urge
To fade underneath my desk
Where now is my mood swinging?
I pray it’s only buried
Under millions of Microsoft windows
And that if I go home
And twirl on my rug
I will mood swing again

Knowledge management

Knowledge management…
Words conjure an image of corporate suits
Running in circles
Trying to capture knowledge in little glass jars
And “manage” it

They are seeking to control something
That should be untamed and wild
Let knowledge run amuck
Let us not consign it to cages or storage units
Like tired mice or spare sets of luggage
To be catalogued by scientists
Or grow dusty in the basement

Portioning out knowledge by permission only
Is elitist and condescending
This knowledge is too much for you
Here, we will help you by offering it
On a need-to-know basis
Password protected
Corporate secrets
Corporate bullshit

Unlock the CPUs
Smash the encryption keys
Send knowledge flooding down cubicle alleys
And over firewall waterfalls

Knowledge be free
Be unmanaged

The game

Five days a week I play a game
I put on slacks and a collared shirt
I stride purposefully to a large building
I brandish a keycard to show my belongingness
Elevator banks with soft bells
Ticking off the floors of other players
I walk down gray-carpeted halls
Staring at gray-painted walls
I sit in my gray fabric cube
Surrounded by the soft clicks of keyboard and mice
The muted ringing of phones
It is an elaborate game of paper and cords
And blinking screens

Earlier in the game
I moved quickly around the board
Advancing from square to square
Winning a free spin – promotion!
But lately the game has become tiresome
In fact the game is slowly killing me
I no longer care if I lose or win
Or even if the game ceases to exist
I am ready to leap off the board
Scatter the pieces on the floor like a truculent child
Who screams and pounds the table with her fists
And says: I want out the game sucks

I will invent my own game
And make my own rules
And choose the goddess of happiness
Over the god of money
He can find someone else to play his game
It will not be difficult
They are lined up to play – eager, young
Reaching already for their keycards
I wish them well