Worker’s Dilemma – A Poem by Gary Beck


Submitted by Gary Beck

The strident demand
of master alarm clock
yanks me untimely
from wistful dream,
curse, shut it off,
doze off again,
then burst awake,
shower, shave, dress,
rush to work,
late again.
The implacable
office manager eye
glistens tyrannically,
glares accusingly
sending me to my computer
afraid of confrontation,
as long as I’m dependent
on my meager salary.

About the Poet

Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. He also has published numerous novels and short story collections. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes, and Sophocles have been produced Off-Broadway. His poetry, fiction, and essays have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines. He lives in New York City.

Painting: Edward Hopper – Office at Night

8 thoughts

  1. (Written Feb 3rd, 2112)


    morning well wicked early still
    when alarm bell rings

    unglue gummy eyes
    peer through foetid gloom
    grope around to kill it
    sniff up last night’s stale breath
    puke worthy – and you expected?

    quick shower, squirt and spray
    baited hooks set – and dreams
    “I swear (s)he fancies me”
    a hopeful phone trills – eyes gleam
    and stick it in your ear – “hi”

    now on your mark, get set
    and go, raging or else uncomplaining
    by crammed tube or heaving bus
    or through poison-pumping gridlock
    noxious hell whichever option

    a compliant commuter – a clone – a costumed clown
    stuck up the back end of a pantomime horse
    blindly galloping into thunderous oblivion
    holding your snotty nose to the grindstone
    scrounging shekels to fuel your shakey schemes

    yes, here’s the life you were schooled for
    to be laid on the butcher’s chopping block
    to hang ripe for the black reaper’s picking
    next to our attempts to heal our broken hearts
    keeping food on the table is their sharpest weapon

    but pity the overseers in their turn
    the restless scuttling tinker men
    well heeled tepid heartless overlords
    with their eternal fear of the rank and vile
    whose oversensitivity is such a bore

    do they lie in the dark wakeful
    awaiting the day their own alarm bells ring?

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