Type
Poetry Prize
Category
Judith Wright Poetry Prize
Poetry

book of hours

this is the poem from my dream I say / office hours are a myth / publishing poems is money for nothing / the supermarket is both under and over policed / today the first thing I said was ‘shut up’ (cat) / possible upsides to a pandemic include the death of musicals / possible downsides include the personal essay / publishing poems is printing money but the money is bad / I’ve found this year that I’m a betting man / you could chase me down the street but where would I go / I’d like to write a poem in the style of ‘Scott 4’ / but how can you / maybe only via legacy / don’t trust the morning to do the evening’s work / I am absolved by my position at the desk / I am freed by my duty of care / publishing poems is money in the bank / reading poems is time off the clock / my afternoon is my employer’s / my fingers are my own / who dictates the roll economy / 2 kids = time off in lieu / turn poetry into stocks / by sitting here I am winning / I am luckier than most / there are no doubt those who would kill for this mousepad / but does the reverse apply / two factor authentication is a misnomer / there are three factors and the third is yourself / your desire to log in / possible upsides to working from home include increased productivity / possible downsides include lockable doors / work in its purest form is art / labour in essence is love / I am forgiven by my reputation as an entrepreneurial spirit / of what I’m still unsure / today outside is ferocious / ulcers are mysterious with none of mystery’s romance / no-one ‘gets’ the shop anymore / are personal printers ‘back’ or ‘out’ / the only conscionable thing is to have nothing to show for a week’s work & a blank cv / in what way are we trending / could we get a report on that / I am still a young man / I am making a difference / up the garden path is still a viable pathway / being here negates the possibility of being there / publishing poems looks good on a resume / can we push our 2 to 4 / our 4 to tomorrow / ergonomics can be a spiritual practice if you let it / plants are an acceptable worry / there is nothing more interesting than weather / to buy a scanner is to understand Marx’s theory of the commodity / to send a fax is to understand purity / possible upsides to a volatile market include a sense of adventure / possible downsides include losing everything / by taking up this space I am useful / my presence is internally monetized / what appears to be a choice is often no choice at all / for example: ink / by writing this poem I am ‘taking back’ / but the poem is only anti-capital when secret / this is good for employers / a clean desk is a happy desk / I am driven by my tendency to help / a problem shared is the terrain of the consultant / a problem halved is one of countless outcomes / would it be more tedious to stop or continue / do you archive or remember / how to measure ethics on a matrix / the modern office is post-cubicle / friday is losing its cultural relevance / if you’re never really ‘on’ you can never really be ‘off’ / I am on track to meet my goals / this provides some comfort / the colour of a lanyard can tell you everything / this office block is over 100 years old / but what of the soil beneath that / or beneath that again / a good worker has a clear trajectory / often this requires obstacles to be cleared / I am embarking on a new chapter / I am realigning my values / Heraclitus’ theory of the break room / HR’s theory of culture / publishing poems is an act of inflation / a sunny day has economic implications / a clear commute is a glimpse at divinity / morale is a budgetable cost / possible upsides to a restructure include increased efficiency / possible downsides include clearing your desk / this is the poem from my dream I say / a good worker is like a tree / inherently removable

 

 

Read the rest of Overland 242

If you enjoyed this piece, buy the issue

Or subscribe and receive
four brilliant issues for a year

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

If you like this piece, or support Overland’s work in general, please subscribe or donate.

Harry Reid is a poet based in Melbourne. They are a co-director of Sick Leave, and the author of the best way to destroy an enemy is to make him a friend (Puncher & Wattmann, 2021).

More by