Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Poem for the Feast of the Ascension

Today we celebrate the Feast of the Ascension, which commemorates Jesus being taken up into Heaven.  For a more serious meditation, see this piece that I wrote last year.

Several years ago, I wrote a meditation on this feast day and then headed off to work to do annual performance reviews.  Various themes and images pinged through my brain through the day and eventually wound themselves into this poem.

Conducting a Performance Review on the Feast of the Ascension

I have wrestled
with these forms—a modern
crucifixion—for over forty
days. I spend more time
trying to coerce
the software into cooperation
than I do in assessment
of employee performance.

Regulations require me to assemble
the same information across several forms.
Employees must cobble
together thick packets of proof
that they’ve done what the forms
report, although if they hadn’t,
the work would have ground to a halt.

How I wish I could ascend
above all this bureaucracy,
that I could shower
my employees with all the glory
they deserve. I long to welcome
them with praise instead of forms.

Alas, the modern workplace
has yet to be redeemed,
and so, I slog
through forms and documentation and rubrics and scales
of pay. I protect my cowering, stressed
employees as best I can.
I whistle “Solidarity Forever” as I complete
the tasks that must be done.

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