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Corporate Art

The problem
with sitting, thinking, working
in a cubicle -
constricted, cloistered,
within prefabricated sections,
isn’t the glare
of fluorescent lighting
painting pasty tones
over peachy complexions,
isn’t floral tapestry casing
white washed walls
(a synthetic garden
aimed to sedate
the laboring masses)
isn’t induced
by the fermented stench
wafting from the break room’s
sink pipes on any morning,
isn’t the odd dregs drifting
behind computer terminals,
a collection of pink dust,
whipped into tufts of cotton candy,
churned from sugar vats.
No, it’s not that.
The problem erupts from a window,
not just one but many
long, rectangular, panoramic panes
suspended across the length of an office
like landscape paintings on display,
a gallery of glossy canvasses
capturing life from every angle,
yet lacking one essential brushstroke.

18 Jun 06

Rated 8 (8.5) by 3 users.
Active (3): 5, 10
Inactive (21): 1, 4, 4, 6, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9, 9, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

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(33 more poems by this author)

(8 users consider this poem a favorite)

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Wow.  Magnificent.  A favourite.  A '10'.
 — CervusWright

this is really really good. the images and the word choices are excellent. worth a 2nd read.

i feel like ive read this before, is it a repost? maybe im just crazy, i dont know.

love "fluorescent lighting
painting pasty tones
over peachy complexions"

nice job.
 — topop

this is in violation of corporate code R31-321 section 33. please report to corporate hq for stroking.
 — unknown

Jeez and I thought you were going with the problem erupting from the window, hurling down 40 stories and crashing into his parked car at the bottom. The mood set it up that way, at least.

It's a v. good buildup but the ending's more fire-cracker than fireworks.

Actually, looking back, that may very well have happened, perhaps in just an obscure manner..... anyway if that's the case I'd make it more blunt like the rest of the piece.
 — Virgil

excellent poem, but not digging the ending.
 — unknown

    This is very well-done.  It is focused, and can almost be read as a single line, and I am amazed that such plain language and imagery can be so engaging.  It makes the shift to "the problem" in the last seven lines that much more effective.
   That said, there are two bits that seem weaker than the rest, "telling" points.  Lines 13-14, "aimed to sedate/the laboring masses" feels editorial, especially following the strength of "floral tapestry casing/white washed walls/(a synthetic garden)."   Second, lines 24-25, "most commonly known/as ceiling vents" seems like the voice isn't sure that the reader gets the dust-bunnies around power-strips, printer cables and ventilation.  I know you're going for two separate things here, but I don't think they must be distinct, and feel like line 23 could read simply "churned from sugar vats."
   Last, (and I'm not entirely sure about this suggestion, BTW) consider whether or not you want to have "me" be the last word in the poem.  While some readers might just think that means the landscape is lacking, I think a good number would take that one step farther and wonder what must be missing, and come to the conclusion you intend.
   Lovely stuff.  Thanks,
 — mikkirat

Amen! "10"
 — starr

yeah, but I like desk tidies and coloured spreadsheets are kinda cool, pie---charts.

 — unknown

still, lovely jubbley.

 — unknown

Loved it! Well done.
 — freqe24

What a long sentence (L1-24). I love this.  I work in an office and I get excited when it's finally time to go.  It can be so suffocating there. Thanks for sharing.
 — colormehappy

Ah, yes. You'v contained us in the cubicle through line 26; tight, well-decorated in a single breath. A creative visual of the space, with well-chosen words throughout. This is not only well-crafted, but well-broken.

27-34 should air out just a bit more with the breeze and visuals. Take us out of the cramped space to the outside.
 — DianaTrees

giddy on.
 — unknown

corporate takeover pending
 — unknown

thanks everyone for the sincere comments!
mikkirat, great suggestions, especially the comment about the ceiling vent, I think I will do away with that line, I'm only worried readers might go "sugar vats? wtf?"
DT, muchas gracias.
 — redsky

very well done. strong images, well assembled... I enjoyed very much.
 — unknown

Absolutely inspired.I waited for it to fade but you sustained it brilliantly to the end.
 — larrylark

I appreciated your comment on my poem, you write really well and your imagery is beautiful. I have just begun to write poetry again and have recently gotten into Slam, I find your comments really useful and would love for you to keep an eye on me.
 — Stellaella

a gallery of glossy canvasses
capturing life from every angle,
yet lacking one essential brushstroke - me.

You have me there, love it.
 — Meep

I would love a thousand poems to be written on the subject "The Bigger Picture" please.
 — Meep

It's my life ;*)
 — unknown

    Oh, sorry it has taken me so long to get back to this poem, redsky.  About the ceiling vents; is it all that important that the reader know the source of the pink fluff that clogs the cooling fans of desktop computers?  You could lighten the tone, lose the heaviness of "most commonly known/as ceiling vents" by dropping "the" from line 23.  It would keep the focus on the pink dust instead of vats/vents, and would read

a collection of pink dust,  21
whipped into tufts of cotton candy,  22
churned from sugar vats.  23

No, it’s not that...

    Looking forward to your next,
 — mikkirat

mikki, you're right. I think the reader can figure out what the speaker is trying to say so I removed those lines like you suggested. thanks for coming back and giving me that extra nudge I needed for my revision.
 — redsky

I have been meaning to read this for some time, today it came up as the random poem - glad it did.

I like that this isn’t broken into stanza’s it provides a monotony mirroring that of  situation described by the speaker, however the content could be worded slightly differently so that it doesn’t come across as too droll. e.g. L2 gives us three descriptors of pretty much the same thing, L3 goes on to give us a setting: a cubicle, by now we have the picture but then L5 goes on to describe it anyway. Perhaps you could open with something like this:

The problem
with honeycomb prefabricated sections
is not the constriction,
nor the persistent buzz
of fluorescent lighting
which remains with me past 5pm,
nor is it the pasty tones
they paint over peachy complexions,
or the floral tapestry casing

This tells us that it is someone working in an office, and links to the next (complaint) without the repetitive use of ‘isn’t’. Each ‘joining phrase’ should be used to build the speakers frustration. Until eventually:

It’s not even the collection
of cotton candy tufts
whipped into form
from overhead dust vats.
No, it’s not that

L22 is not required most readers will be familiar with cotton candy and how it’s spun, better to keep the focus on the office environment.

I’d look at line 31, I’m not convinced that your (limited view) captures every angle even less so when you compare it to a canvas. Then in the final line I was left wanting a little, I don’t know exactly what I was expecting but it seemed a little soft (of course it’s a matter of personal preference)

Many readers will relate to this poem.
 — hobby

I work in a cubicle, and certainly can appreciate this. we don't have cotton candy though. darn.
 — SteelAngel

Very nice Redsky, you could put this into a square as prose poetry; and I would eliminate the last word (for me it weakens)
 — unknown

Briliant poem - dont change it - that'd need to be one fine brush stroke though.
 — philoanon

nice art
 — kong

I didn't realize we were business associates! Bravo...you get my first 10.
 — poetbill

nice poem.
 — hank

very nice....i dont know if you need L24 though
 — joshcoops

I think L24 helps move the poem's geist forward
 — poetbill

This is excellent.
 — SarahMichele

If you've been around cubicles long enough and eventually you'll come 'round. Excellent!
 — Rubylaser

i have two questions, one is what u mean by "panoramic panes"  r u alluding to Shakespeare or u have ur own meaning. I first perceive it as a decontructive ..is it so?
wonderful piece of work!
 — serein

I think the lack luster ending adds to the dismay of the piece, myself.
 — PaleHorse

very good.
 — psychofemale

thanks for all the comments!
 — redsky