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

(with apologies to Wallace Stevens)

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

I saw three cameras
But more importantly
They saw me.

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

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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

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

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.

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

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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