Friday, March 10, 2006

Ode on a Requisition Form

--from Keats "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Thou blank, crisp face with blanks to inscribe,
Thou three part NCR form; pink, yellow, white.
I tremble with anticipation and sweat with fear.
Will I complete you correctly? Will you flow through
The twists and turns of approvals and eyes?
Will you become the purchase order I desire?

Your fields, unscrutable, I check my codes.
The codes, byzantine and nearly uncrackable.
Is software an office supply? Or does it have its own code?
These answers I cannot divine, only uncover
With the help of the toughest teacher: experience
As you sail back and forth from clerk to clerk.

Still, a part of you stays with me, the pink part.
You rest in my file, chronologically side by side
With your brothers in sequential order. I protect you.
I bring out the pale copy of the original that you leave behind
To defend my word and work against those who stand against me
Tyrants in a teacup, holding their rules close to the vest.

Woe to the tyrant who questions your authenticity!
For I have copies of quotes and prices!
I've followed those rules I was able to uncover and
I have written them down to pass on to those who come after me.
Oh, yes, tyrant, your empire shall crumble!
Your gates will fall. And work shall be done in half the time!

But this requisition shall sustain me. I will sing your number,
Again and again until your metamophosis is complete
Until your items and services are delivered
Until your invoices are paid.
Thou shalt remain in the midst of other records
Boxed, archived, tallied, charted, reported and closed,
And I shall inform my replacement:
"Documentation is truth, truth documentation"--that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need know.


Big Orange said...

Wow. That's amazing. When are you going to submit this to The New Yorker or Granta??

Big Orange said...

you said that you thunk it might need some tweakin'. I dunno' bout THAT, but damn the rejection slips, you've GOT to submit that to some print 'zine or SOMETHING!! Makes me feel all wither-a-fied...

Hey, I feel a poem coming on about how I can't write a poem!!