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,
office manager eye
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
A stark reflection of the endless grind we face in this life.
I feel all of this! I’d love to see more work by Gary. This is really powerful work!!
I do remember days like this. Ah, the joy of retirement.
Life lived by the alarm clock. A well written piece.
Captures the essence of the daily grind.
(Written Feb 3rd, 2112)
THE DAILY GRIND
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?
Nicely written Gary. I remember those days.
Oh, the joys of the rat race. I do not miss it so!