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Layoff: Sound and Fury

Paul Lojeski: They started letting people go today because the boss stole from the Feds and business tanked.

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Layoff: Sound and Fury

They started letting people go today
because the boss stole from the Feds
and business tanked. He paces the

gleaming floors of his mansion,
waiting for trial. And so it goes.
I sit at my desk, listening

to a woman shrieking, sobbing,
groaning, choking out her pleas
for mercy, as if her child had

been murdered right in front of her.
All for a $10-an-hour job. This is
the American nightmare they

never tell you about growing up,
the shadow made by sunlight
burning gold. I hope you never

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hear those jagged sounds tearing
the silence. I hope it’s never you
on your knees, crying out for mercy.

Crumbs for Giants

What they feed us here in the dark
are stale slogans flowered in fields
of steel; the harvest so pure it appears

as gospel in the glint of a child’s eye:
murder for country, slaughter for race,
butcher for religion and maim and

torture for gender. We are each on this
blood ship drifting into the yellow,
burning haze. So I thank all of history

for its ruthless truths and the present
for its vicious commitment to tradition.
It makes of leaving a fulfilling journey,
makes of it, perhaps, glory onto itself.

On the Other Hand

How much of what I tell myself is true?
My narrative, my storyline unraveling in
the moment; every moment an instantaneous
rendering of reality as I see it, which never
stops creating itself: Upon waking in the
middle of the night I launch into mumbled
diatribes about my suffering and its causes,
each turn of my life rife with descriptive
passages weaving tales of unjust treatment
at the hands of nefarious evil doers
and a blatantly criminal social order
fashioned within a cold and grindingly
capricious universe; each small outburst
an attempt to explain away the actions
I took as the result of ruthless forces
at work, forces bent on my luckless
misfortunes. Fortunately, approaching 70,
I see the humor of a lifetime of inaccurate,
insincere and just plain wrong self-describing
as nothing more than the commonplace efforts
of a common man to avoid the obvious truth
of his own and everyone else’s meaningless
existence. I don’t think there’s anything
really wrong with that, do you?

Paul Lojeski