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THE BOSS
SELECTIONS FROM THE BOOK

I once was a child am a child am someone’s child

I once was a child am a child am someone’s child
       not my mother’s not my father’s the boss
   gave us special treatment treatment for something
          special a lollipop or a sticker glitter from the

toy box the better we did the better the plastic prize made
       in China one year everyone got a spinning top
   one year everyone got a tap on their shoulders
          one year everyone was fired everyone

fired but me one year we all lost our words one year
       my father lost his words to a stroke
   a stroke of bad luck stuck his words
          used to be so worldly his words fired

him let him go without notice can they do that
       can she do that yes she can in this land she can
   once we sang songs around a piano this land is your land
          this land is my land in this land someone always

owns the land in this land someone who owns
       the land owns the buildings on the land owns the
   people in the buildings unless an earthquake
          sucks the land in like a long noodle

 

Edward Hopper’s Office at Night

The boss is sitting at the desk the boss doesn’t look
       at her the boss is waiting for the black telephone
   to ring she also waits for a ring from the boss he is
          waiting for the files from her

her blue dress like a reused file folder around
       her body her hands tight around the files
   the filing cabinet might eat her might take her hand off
          the boss might eat her the boss

wants her but the boss wants money more just a little bit
       more the boss always seems to want
   the money a bit more the boss doesn’t hear
           there are taxis outside waiting

for all the women down on the street across the street
        a boss prepares for bed another boss above him
   in apartment X rotates a Q-tip in his ear before sex
           despite instructions on the box we

took my father out of the paper the living will the letters
       with their little capes will leave the paper
   who will take care of my children later who will take care
          of my father the will will take care

of no one a piece of paper cannot take care of anyone I
        cannot take care of everyone on some nights
   I wake in a panic and can’t tell if I am dead or alive
          this year I dye my hair so I won’t have to die

 

The boss calls us at home the boss can call us anytime

The boss calls us at home the boss can call us anytime
       the boss tells us to turn on the television
   not to go into work I watch over and over
          the planes the buildings that met each

other wept each other the people stuck the boss’s voice
       shakes the boss must look familiar like a
   mother like a sister but the boss isn’t our mother isn’t
          our sister the shoe doesn’t fit she can

whimper does whimper can feel sorry for other people
       can vomit sadness when someone says
   it’s personal when is it not personal about the person
          when the planes crashed into the

towers the pilots’ bodies met a CEO their bodies
       pressed together their power latched
   together on the 54th floor hating each other embracing
          each other like an accordion