Posted by: beansai | August 1, 2007

Mood-swing Mary

*Another piece I wrote at work.  This one is a bit longer, but I hope you’ll give it a go anyway.  I’m not sure how I feel about it, especially the ending.  Some general feedback would be awesome.  Maybe it’s too vague or would work better as prose than poetry, I can’t decide.  Either way I hope you enjoy it. 
 
 Monsoon season had started and thick
sweaty clouds hung in the atmosphere
like brushed-metal masses.  Mary sniffed
the air with a scrunched nose; the rain
had turned the backyard into mud
and liquid shit.  The smell
was rancid.  Open pores
of plants lent a sweet scent
to the fettered feces and was tantalizingly
suggestive of what our bodies become
after they have joined the earth.

Mary whistled the muddy dogs in
without bothering to wipe them down.
Doling out undeserved treats ( the mutts
didn’t even take a piss), she grabbed
an over-sized mug and hobbled
back to the couch by the window,
next to the front door.

She knew when the rain would come,
thanks to old injuries
of younger years, when she was forty
pounds lighter and happier.  Her knees
popped and knocked in mock
instability (though sometimes
it was real) a few days before
the thunderheads appeared.
 
            Last week her boss sauntered
            into her office, with a knit brow
            of counterfeit sympathy, explaining
            that business had been slow and now,
            unfortunately, – bullshit thought Mary –
            they would have to let her go.  She simpered
            in apparent understanding, but really
            she knew that she was the problem,
            not the market.
 
            Honestly, the job was a fucking
            nightmare and she hated
            playing the role of a compassionate
            “insurance agent”.  God, what an oxymoron
            that job had been.  Any normal
            human being knows agents are full
            of it.  Mary simply wasn’t as good
            at pretending like some of the other
            pretentious bitches in her office.
 
            While working in the claims office,
            they enjoyed landing her the sob-
            story cases, just to watch her squirm
            in pathetic attempts to console
            bitter and ruined people.  After a time
            she stopped trying, and this is why
            they skimmed her job.  She was positive
            by next week a new pansy would enjoy
            her cubicle view.
 
Lithe fingers held the blinds apart
as Mary stared outside, listening
to the rain patter on the cars and rooftops.
Aside from the stink, she enjoyed
wet afternoons on the couch,
with a home-brewed cup of coffee.
 
One of the dogs curled over her bare
feet, keeping them toasty.  Undoubtedly
it was a symbiotic relationship, this bumming
off of each other’s warmth.  She smiled
and shifted slightly to work the blood
back into varicose veins
on her unshaven legs (what’s the point
when no one ever sees them).
 
The plastic vertical blinds, standard
in apartments now, clattered together,
swinging in unison, after she let the one
held aside go.  Nudging the pup off of her
and the couch, she bustled back
into the kitchen and rinsed out her mug.
 
Thunder growled deep in her chest
and Mary felt the anger boiling
to the surface again.  It wasn’t just
the job, but the lack of everything
in her life. Lack of color – even though
she had lived in this apartment
for three years, the walls were still
barren, lack of people – who did she
really have to consider friends, lack
of lovers – hell, even one would be nice,
and so many other intangible realities.
 
Plucking a stocky black hair from a mole
on her arm, Mary slumped in her room
in front of her computer, realizing
that it was there for no reason.  This machine
of advanced communication
had nothing to communicate; not to her
and certainly not from her.
 
She sighed and swiveled away from a bland
desktop.  Staring now at her disheveled bed,
she smiled, knowing that sometimes
people are a pain in the ass to live with
and at least while she was alone, she could not
make her bed, just as she pleased.

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