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Poetry Magnum Opus

Space in the City


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is expensive. The poor don't clutter theirs

with many things. Just themselves. So,

when the memo came out about

enforcing a clean-desk policy, I realized

how physical I was. There arrayed for display

are my worldly possessions-


my digital clock, black;

perpetual calendar, in metal, bronze;

pen holder, full of vendor-branded pens;

magnetic stick-on, as souvenirs;

company-issued laptop;

telephone unit (with my local number);

my PDA on its cradle;


and a picture of you,

big and in color.


Darling, there is an explicit instruction

to take your picture off my desk.

Like the city's poor removed

from squatting on private spaces,

I have to remove your picture

from theirs.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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How wonderful poem Joel. Very nice tone.

I like the way how is written this one. The comparatives what you imported in this poem works so well. And the end is very clever and you closed this poem on the best way.


The title also sounds wonderful and gives a deepness of this poem.


Thanks a lot for sharing



The poet is a liar who always speaks the truth - Jean Cocteau

History of Macedonia



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Good comparisons, Joel: commercial and residential space in the city > desk space. I noticed you removed the narrator's direct assertion that the desk space was his private property and opted instead to let the metaphor do the work. The poem displays an underlying respect for private property, and though the employer can put restrictions on what the narrator has on his desk, he cannot encroach on the narrator's own "space": that which is in his mind and heart.



Here is a link to an index of my works on this site: tonyv's Member Archive topic

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Hi Alek and Tony, thank you for the appreciation. Tony, I did remove that (you have a sharp memory), for conciseness and reader interaction. I am a bit bog down with work for now. I will catch up soon with the rest.

"Words are not things, and yet they are not non-things either." - Ann Lauterbach

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Larsen M. Callirhoe

this was very interesting joel. i like the tone of the poem. i agree with tony's comments completely. your poetry just keeps getting better and better with each poem you write. i like your poems. you are very keen and insightful and that makes your poems a delight to read.


larsen aka victor

Larsen M. Callirhoe

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This was very good....I always loved that straight forward style.....

this has humor in the piece as well.....you should see my desk......

I try to keep it clean from clutter....

because if I don't....I get overwhelmed and angry.....

I cant believe a company would make people remove their photos of loved ones.......

some people do overdo it.....photos everywhere...every square inch....

sometimes I think it's a form of job security....

you know, the boss is angry at you...

but then sees photos of your kids and wife and pet dog....ect....

you might not get in so much trouble.......but seriously.....

don't people see their loved ones enough outside of work to not bring photos in to put on the desk ? icon_neutral.gif

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Hi Joel, As usual you make the most common things interesting in your writing. I like it. Your skill as a writer doesn't leave much room for critique but you know me, I have to pick away. In this poem I wonder if you took out all but the absolute necessary punctuation. I think the poem would be smoother. Just an idea.


I can't believe you aren't allowed one picture on your desk. That is so sad. I think pictures and other personal possessions are important in the workplace. We do not stop being ourselves just because we are on the job. A person's desk should be their space and reflect their personality.


~~ Tink

~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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Frank E Gibbard

Joel, I found the personal story you relate sad, the restrictive policies of a power that is. I see Tink's poem here, quite worthy of inclusion an interesting and personal account of impedimenta and intimate surroundings in the workspace. Frank

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  • 1 year later...

Oh, this is so perfect!


I love this Joel--


Ive spent a lot of time contemplating on "space"


and my brief homelessness last year had me looking again, at just how much space one body takes up-- you see, its not the body that takes up space, its the person- and herein lies the need for space, for privacy-- the person carries energy, and it can be disruptive to the other person, who has their own energy-- and some have energy of personhood that needs lots and lots of space (narcissists) and some have personhood energy which you barely notice (saints) (thus, empty of self = full of Grace)


here, there is so much narcissism in the corporate environment, that they even have to invade the space of their own people, and command sainthood for their own purposes of profit-- UGH, its disgusting, and still true...


and it was captured here in an unbelievably beautiful and simple and honest and loving and poetic way-- bravo--


quite touched my heart!


(Google.com was looking over this page this morning, and thats what finally brought my attention here today, in case anyone was curious)

Edited by rumisong
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