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(This is one of my “poems of complaint” – I probably have far too many of those. In any case, this one made me smile to read after having written it a few years ago. It tells of a work commute on the dreadful 405 freeway in Los Angeles to a job at a university that was – perhaps – more of a diploma mill than anything else, though who’s to say??? Hope this makes you smile, too.)

took abuse, learned to accept it.
life is funny that way.
while sky and clouds and birds
wheeled above,
i was confined to
a swath cut through the hillside
that engulfs like a grave
where not clods of dirt
but motorists pelt you
with their long-suffering looks,
and the sun’s morning glare
on windshields and mirrors
and cut-glass buildings
beats you into submission.

everyone has a breaking point.
not too proud to admit it.
mine was a commute from hell
to a job at snakeoil u
where earnestness
competes with dollars and sense
and the only winners
are the alchemist-owners who
transmute tuition into gold.

don’t know what road to take now,
though, and through what terrain.
it’s a question i return to
again and again…
so far all roads have led
to a sad, scary place:
a madhouse of distorted mirrors
that reflect someone I do not care to know:
the me that has lost her way.

maybe i’ll sit this one out for a while,
maybe i’ll sleep and dream and relax
and thereby come upon a new plan,
or maybe i’ll just set my sights
on the sky and clouds and birds above
until i become a part of
the elemental motion.

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