Thirteen Ways of Looking at Your Job Through Your Employer’s Video Surveillance Equipment

(with apologies to Wallace Stevens)

I
Among twenty gray cubicles
The only moving thing
Was the ceiling-mounted camera.

II
I saw three cameras
But more importantly
They saw me.

III
A camera whirred high up in the corner of the ceiling.
It was not conspicuous.

IV
A male co-worker and a female co-worker
Become one.
A male co-worker and a female co-worker and a video camera
Become one big HR problem.

V
I can’t decide what’s better,
The beauty of the double-entendre
Or the beauty of my intern’s fun bags,
The video camera’s rusty hinge squeaking
Or knowing it’s going to squeak.

VI
A small bird flew into the round window
And left a bloody smear.
The shadow of the video camera
Swept the window, back and forth.
The mood
Of the office:
The exhaustion of doom.

VII
O husky Harpies of HR,
How do you imagine your golden years?
Do you not see how the video camera
Whirls above the heads
Of the men who ignore you?

VIII
I hear lofty pronouncements
Of interpersonal cautions at regular intervals;
But I also hear
The ceiling-mounted camera
Turning towards me.

IX
When the southwest camera was removed for repair,
It marked anonymity
In one office quadrant.

X
At the sight of surveillance cameras
Covering all public spaces,
Even the prophets of misandry
Would spontanesouly combust.

XI
He banged a chick in Connecticut
In the back of his Trans-Am.
At one point, he worried
That he mistook her large clitoris
For a penis,
And the shadow of flying blackbirds
For video cameras catching it all.

XII
The people are working.
The video cameras must be working.

XIII
It was a long day
The longest,
All day long
And no one was leaving early.
The video cameras hung
From every corner.

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