Daily Archives: June 16, 2016

Man In The Jar

There’s a man in a jar
on the high shelf. Not preserved,
not pickled. Just sitting, 
alive (it’s claimed), walled off,
visible. Maybe he’s angry,
maybe terrified. Maybe
he’s feeling an emotion unique
to the walled off, the exhibited,
the left on a shelf. It would be good
to have such an emotion — not to
have it for yourself, not to feel it,
but it needs to be described.
It’s new to us, new to humanity. It’s 
a function of how so many of us are
connected without having any feelings
for each other. We fake it a lot, though.

Perhaps the man in the jar on the shelf
is tired of faking. He’s rocking the jar
now. He’s getting it closer and closer
to the edge. It’s going to fall and those
pieces are going everywhere
and chances are
he dies in the fall.  

Let’s watch.


Salesman’s Blues

Originally posted 6/18/2008.

In town for a convention.

When not at a meeting or the booth
lives in the back corner of the hotel bar,
alone over soup, a salad, now and then
a rare steak, always
the drink, always the glass.

Right now, running
a finger around the rim

of the tumbler: two rocks,
single malt, half gone.

Half gone as well
the old tie — worn as a slack noose,
silk darkened at the tip
from fiddling with it
under conference tables,
in airplanes, in 
traffic. 

Looks down,
notices the staining

and says, “Man, if I still 
had the money
for every tie
I’ve had to buy in a rush
from a hotel gift shop
before a meeting 
where I had to look my best
or risk losing my confidence or
maybe the account,
I could have retired
by now.” Strips it off,
a superhero changing
for battle. 

Downs the last
of the drink, slams
the glass, gets up to go 

back to the room, getting
far away from people
laughing at the TV,
flirtations, deals
wisping on the air
like smoke foretelling fire.

Says it’s only temporary.
Only till things get figured out.
Only till all the obligations
to others are fulfilled. 

Offers silent prayers
to whatever has made happiness
such an overpriced commodity
that one can survive
on selling it to others
while living entirely within
a fantasy of making enough
to buy some of your own
one of these days,
sooner rather than later.

Falls asleep
trying to decide
what tie to wear tomorrow.