Thursday, October 31, 2013

The 20 lb. paper is holy!

(see also: Footnote to File)
with apologies to Allen Ginsberg


Part I

I saw the best minds of my generation fortified by comforts, content in-control clothed, driving themselves through nice streets at dawn looking for a faster commute, drive-thru yuppies thirsting for the fresh Starbucks connection to the regulated bypass in the machinery of the transit department,
who paychecks and yoga mats and lip-balmed and tipsy sat up sipping in the mundane white-lit bright of stainless-steel lofts floating across the mid-scale high rises contemplating AMC,
who exposed their opinions to CNN under the El and saw news anchors sitting rigid professionally lit,
who passed through universities magnetizing debt reading a poem or two by someone anti-war and subsequently signing a petition to ban child soldiers,
who were graduated from the academics for completing certain semi-complex assignments subsequently hung on office walls,
who stood shaved in rooms in Calvin Kleins, storing their money in no-fee checking accounts listening to the neighbors shout through the walls,
who got pulled over on the beltway for touching the rumble strips fiddling with the radio dial trying to find NPR on the elusive low-90s broadcast bands,
who consumed Lean Cuisine or drank Chardonnay at Steve's reception, thought about making a move on Emily's sister and didn't,
fueled by Gold Gym workouts at dusk, Brad Pitt films, pornography and advertising and screen-transmitted sexuality,
highly comparable blind streets of rain and lighting and in the mind cursing the inclement weather that illuminates the hydroplane auto-warning device and prevents cruise control,
Meal solitudes that creep upon them sometimes at the kitchen island in bachelor and bachelorette apartments, one glass of wine too many, ready for a drive under the neon blinking traffic light, under the sun and moon but afraid of blowing an alcohol test, so instead this Fox News rant,
who browsed over two thousand photos consecutive on Facebook albums all the way back to two thousand and seven when they dated that one girl Stacey who wore the berets eventually brought down red-eyed and sleepy near three in the morning, unseen night clouds outside the window, after the annoyance of that time Kyle got a hold of the camera at the Zoo and posted four copies of every photo,
who spent so many neon unnoticed nights at the bar built into the local shopping center where domestics are four dollars, sitting in the booth wondering when the city council was going to pass that no-smoking ordinance for all public spaces,
who listened to chatter on the television for twenty-five hours over three consecutive days, from easy chair to sofa and back to easy chair and thus was Labor Day weekend,
a lost battalion of little-known cable shows some of them having to do with science and some with travel and the more interesting ones in some way connected with sex,
absolutely amazed at the stuff you can learn just by channel surfing like the masons who apparently started America or what it's like to have multiple wives or be in the mafia or what actually may have caused the Hindenburg accident,
getting layman information from experts who are off in Hawaii surfing and figuring out the universe but luckily telling the folks back home what conclusions they are nearing that will absolutely change the way we think about the experience of sitting on the sofa watching this sort of show,
who spent three hours online reading reviews for products that will never be purchased, watching videos of cats leap around strangers' apartments, news articles, workout tips, the ONE secret insurance companies don't want you to know and the THREE simple diet tips that will deflate you like this animated woman who fluctuates on the banner ad between obese and anorexic over the course of four frames,
suffering slow download times bad customer service delayed airline flights terrifying McDonald's employees even more terrifying bosses watching home-makeover and knowing that's never going to happen to this apartment,
who wandered around the internet at midnight looking at photographs of the moon and ending up comparing auto insurance rates with no idea how or why they got there,
who threatened the neighbor woman who smokes the cigarettes on the fire escape reminding her not only of emphysema but that if her smoke continues to drift through the cracked window property management is going to hear about her recreational use of the emergency exit,
who saw a Travel Channel special on Tibetan Monks and were appreciative of the expansion of their horizons who once went skiing in Aspen, Colorado and drove through Kansas and did not look once,
who restrain themselves every Thanksgiving dinner not to share with mother, after her eighth mention of guardian angels, the revelation of the fact that guardian angels fulfill a bio-psychical need now filled by insurance or that was what the article in last winter's issue of Smithsonian claimed anyway,
who cast their vote based on three different thirty-second sound clips from each candidate,
who jumped into Chevy Volts and Nissan Leafs to save the environment and drove them on winter streets until they discovered how bad acceleration was in inclement conditions at which point they returned to six cylinder gas-powered engines,
who lounged hungry at the back of the Subway line wondering how in the world there could be only one employee behind the glass for the lunch hour rush, trying not to get involved in conversation with the homeless man two spots ahead, for some reason reminiscing about semester abroad, when that foreign girl got drunk and nearly kissed them but didn't,
who disappeared into a National Geographic special issue on Mexico that confirmed their suspicion that they did not in the least desire to live in Mexico,
who are extremely efficient at filing, can file briefs and petitions and answers and decisions according to color-coded file-folders, pale eyes gleaming from the file room, filing like no previous generation on earth has filed before,
who in one month accrued separate triple digits expenses for the cable/dish bill, the internet bill, and the phone bill with data text talk options,
who upgraded to Spotify Premium for a single digit monthly bill and now don't have to listen to those voices on the bus since their cell-phone carries all their cached radio songs,
who broke down on the bypass trembling and overheating and afterward made sure not to leave the house again without AAA accident insurance card in hand,
who apologized profusely to officers of the law having run a yellow light on the verge of red unable to stop, visiting afterward a brake specialist to have whatever needed to be done to prevent a second occurrence of that nightmare,
who filed on their knees one afternoon to access some lower shelves and purchased that weekend knee pads to prevent the pain as they staggered upright waving files sporting the navy-blue COPY insignia born by every non-original document,
who let themselves be fondled by saintly insurance companies, and trembled with joy,
who invited a strange and beautiful woman home from the local bar, and when she accepted hid sweating in the bathroom and left by the back entrance,
who strolled in parks on days with temperatures located between sixty-five and seventy-five degrees, but have decided spending the night outdoors is thoroughly out of the question,
who grew feverish twice in a single month and now subscribe to a mail-delivery natural vitamin supplement that fortifies over twenty daily vitamins infused with omega-3 iron and calcium supplements,
who sit with Liz and Tyrone down at the local bar in the shopping center and agree vigorously that no way are they going to get tied down with family with children any time soon let-me-tell you and afterward part company drive home and sit alone in the dark staring at the blinking light of the sound-system transmitter,
who have had an average of eight sexual encounters per year over the last five years while single and a lot more while dating, judging from these statistics that dating is the preferable state of existence,
who in freshman year of college skinny-dipped with two girls with unremembered names still fantasizing about this night two to three times per month ten years later,
who went out drinking for Rich's bachelor party in a rented limo, Rich the secret hero of these poems who rumor has it hooked up with two different girls on the night of his bachelor party and tried to make it with a third, a gaunt waitress at the lonely pizza shop only to vomit on her apron instead,
who have never spent a day of their lives not knowing where they are going to sleep that night,
who informed the local coffee shop and bakery that unless they could transition to an earlier opening they would be losing one man's business to the Starbucks across the street,
who tried to take out a life-insurance policy on their suicidal friend, who insured the car, the apartment, the dog, the airline tickets home, their own bodies, the possibility of a fire, of a flood, of an earthquake, their teeth, their eyes, their sex organ,
who sat tight with the knowledge that relatively few negative things could happen without monetary compensation,
who stood in elevators in disbelief at the poor quality of the muzak, in greater disbelief at the street vendor who tried to sell hot dogs he handled with his own hands,
who sat breathing in the darkness when the electricity went out, brought through the ordeal by Spotify Premium and a fully-charged cell-phone's data plan,
who started to cough and ingested eight vitamin C pills, urine subsequently smelling weird and orange,
who got lost in a shopping spree haze at Wal-Mart and purchased over three hundred dollars in merchandise only to discover the following morning all of it was useless,
who ate mostly frozen dinners and deli sandwiches, nearly everything pre-made, purchasing according to variegated advertisements adorning the packaging promising health,
who returned to the grocery when one of the dozen eggs turned out to be cracked,
who own an alarm clock, a watch, a cell-phone, a computer, a microwave, an oven, a DVD player, two analog wall clocks, an electric toothbrush, an i-pad, all of which relay the time, all within six minutes of each other,
who for no discernible reason took half a bottle of pills and had to undergo six months of psychotherapy and afterward knew to exercise, eat healthy, pursue affirming friendships, and keep the credit card debt under control,
who listened to endless songs about youth, about the upcoming night and its possibilities, endless sexual prospects, about the dance-floor as the manifestation of the Now, of the Present moment played out in the movement of the hips, the half-realization always dwelling in the head that this image is nothing they created but a structure created by a hazy figure and imitated on endless weekend nights in the bar district and isn't there some kind of insurance specifically for livers,
who one day walked into work an hour late with no explanation this actually happened and only apologized when the supervisor confronted them directly on the lunch hour,
who scanned and copied and proofread and edited briefs, who carried transcripts between the hands of people who made far more money, restocked office supplies, ran out of envelopes, once ate pizza for breakfast, made friends with a black person briefly before he returned to his native France, sometimes crank the music when the windows are up driving on the anonymous beltway and sing with Michael Buble at the top of the lungs not caring who's watching,
who stroll down memory lane and declare proudly that no better financial decisions could have been made,
who waited three hours in the pre-dawn cold to get into Best Buy what with the LCD screens on forty percent Black Friday discount, still remembering the cold, mitigated by the hand warmers being sold by the homeless but savvy Chinese gentlemen in the parking lot,
who journeyed to Kinko's, who died outside Kinko's, who came back to Kinko's and waited in vain, who watched over Kinko's & brooded & loned outside Kinko's and finally went away to find out the Time, because what the hell kind of national chain is closed on a Sunday, & now Kinko's is lonesome for her customers,
who re-entered the life of prayer on Friday when the driver who apparently didn't see the octagonal red stop sign swerved and missed by inches, abandoning the life of prayer when it was clear neither car had been scratched,
who learned to look rigidly straight when passing panhandlers, who mumble incoherently when some old woman in a snowstorm says she ran out of gas and needs to get to her kids house an hour away, because Jesus how many people per year run out of gas an hour away from their kids' houses,
who dreams of retiring to Colorado where the view from the dining room always seems so great in those interior d├ęcor magazines,
who departed on entirely justified rants against the Man, the institution, against the secretary at work, against right-wing politics, against left-    wing nuts in Australia who want to reintroduce infanticide, against topsoil erosion in Iowa and corporations who are burning trash into the earth,
who attended a city action meeting due to rising toll rates and nearly vomited because of some apparently bad strawberries provided by an out-of-town caterer,
and who were given a personal escort to the Emergency Room and made to sign a waiver denoting that if anyone was to be sued it was the catering company and not the city action group,
who weren't allowed as a child to jump on the neighbor's trampoline due to the neighbor's father having gone to law school and knowing all about personal liability lawsuits,
returning years later to the same neighbor's household who now owned a swimming pool only to find that pools fall under the same heavy personal liability lawsuit shadow and swimming is for nuclear family only,
Sallie Mae Federal Student Loan bills causing an aching worry at the back of the mind until such a thing as liability insurance is discovered, after which debt becomes a potential for profit, hazard turned into safety,
with mother finally buying some homeowner's insurance, and the income channeled mostly into the 501C-3 limited liability corporation set up to buy and sell video game equipment online but really as a fence so that the PS3 and the XBOX 360 and the Nintendo Wii can all get tax write-offs,
ah, Steve Jobs, while you are cancerous I am cancerous, and now you've really bit the dust that is the end of cancer,
and who therefore purchased stock in the Apple corporation right when Jobs bit the dust on the bet that the company would prove even more vital than before, a prediction that paid off in multiple stock dividends,
who went online and enacted some research concerning the insurance business and are now considering pushing the career in a different direction, getting out of the file room and the cubicle, out of the nine-to-five and into the eight-to-four, out of the Prius and into the Lexus, out of the pre-fab and into the Victorian, staying awake on certain nights dreaming of 401ks,
to recreate a stable financial model that will deliver peace of mind, the property insured, a space made for children even though they aren't filling it just yet, standing naked in front of the bathroom mirror thinking that those Gold Gym workouts are finally starting to pay off in terms of aesthetics,
the file clerk and the dockets beat in Time, the pulse of the stream of the flow of the information age delivering plenty enough to keep away the question of what actually happens when the organism expires and supposedly there's something out there uninsured,
and actually entirely impossible to insure, despite the variety of available life insurance policies out there and this final cry delivered that goes shivering down the empty streets, the pale terror of the uneventful Wednesday night, that There Is Nothing Good on TV
with the absolute schedule of the portfolio of life bolstered by certain blue-chip additions and now probably good for about a thousand years.

Part II

What firm agent of home and auto but also asset and liability opened their minds and filled them with wonder and wisdom!
Insurance! Comfort! Peace! Security! Low Premiums and Deductibles! Children sleeping content at night with policies poised at their bedside! Boys playing sports without fear of consequence! Men growing old without fear of consequence!
Insurance! Insurance! Sweet dream of Insurance! Insurance the lovely! Mental peace of mind! Insurance the savior of men and women!
Insurance the freedom to act without fear! Insurance the laminated card in the glove box! Insurance whose pathways are effective if sometimes inefficient! Insurance the vast net! Insurance who renders the prophetic voice of future time superfluous!
Insurance whose profit margins are pure calculation! Insurance whose blood is running with stability! Insurance whose fingers are newly graduated college students selling graveyard plots to their fraternity brothers! Insurance who bolsters the timid! Insurance who quiets the rhythms of fear!
Insurance whose claims investigators probe a thousand accidents! Insurance whose filing needs never end! Insurance who discovers the past and by its discovery determines the future!
Insurance whose skin is made of advertising! Insurance whose presentation is that of inciting the fear of chaos! Insurance who renders consequence obsolete! Insurance who anthropomorphizes disaster itself! Insurance who never speaks of joy but only monetary compensation! Insurance whose name is Peace of Mind!
Insurance in whom I sit fearless! Insurance in whom I drive safely motivated by money! Crazy about Insurance! Desiring to insure the sex act! Insurance in whom I sit without courage!
Insurance who entered my planning and foresight faculties early! Insurance in whom I am action without consequence! Insurance who frightened me out of my natural ecstasy! Insurance whom I cling to! Wake up with Insurance! Insurance available online!
Insurance! Insurance! State Farm! Prudential! Geico! Aflac! MetLife! Blue Cross Blue Shield! Highmark!
They break their wallet lifting Insurance to a level just above their heads! Liability, asset, disaster, portfolio! eliminating the dire consequence of every particle around us that touches us in which we move!
Danger! Risk! Foolishness! Poor decisions! Disasters! All gone out of sight down the American river!
Adventure! Audacity! Victory! Sensation of battle! Sensation of risk! all unneeded feelings of the past!
Setbacks! Steep falls! No problem! home vehicle life agricultural inland marine builder's risk income protection terminal illness terrorism longevity dual trigger earthquake FLEXA wage war risk pet all with a net!
Death bonds credit locked funds guaranteed asset protection plans! They've got it all! The holy safety! Sleep tight! Don't jump! Or what the hell go ahead and jump! Right into a net! Live, for life can do nothing to you! Down into the river! into the street!

Part III

Emily Smith! I am with you in the File Room
where your filing is disturbed by the concavity of silence
I'm with you in the File Room
where you have so little appreciation for the automatic light switches
I'm with you in the File Room
where you find yourself talking to yourself like you never do outside these walls
I'm with you in the File Room
where you keep a secret folder of Judge's opinions whose proper files you can't find
I'm with you in the File Room
where you laugh at jokes you heard on television the night before
I'm with you in the File Room
where we are looking up the same client matter numbers on the same shelves
I'm with you in the File Room
where it's reported you had to have the executive secretary help you find certain alphabetized smaller clients
I'm with you in the File Room
where the outer office life seems to fade away and leaves you alone with the deep well folders and the endless whisper of paper
I'm with you in the File Room
where you sometimes sneak bottles of purified Deer Park drinking water
I'm with you in the File Room
where you don't experience a single sexual urge and are not sure why
I'm with you in the File Room
where if you're not careful you start to sing aloud on instinct to help cover the whisper of paper speaking that which cannot be spoken
I'm with you in the File Room
where you imagine what it will be like to work in this room in the summer time with the view of the river and your sleeves rolled up because here at least is the possibility of poetry
I'm with you in the File Room
where forty-three more Answers and Opinions from the opposing counsel need to find their red-file homes never to be extracted again
I'm with you in the File Room
where you work out certain psychological issues in the silence having to do with your family and the particular pathways in which you were raised, these giants that only emerge in the Absence
I'm with you in the File Room
where religion becomes more than your mother's frustrating psychological games and more than the glass of the windows that keeps you from leaping into the street fifteen floors below
I'm with you in the File Room
where the shelves have lost all free space and you tug and shove and jam to put paper in its proper place
I'm with you in the File Room
where the dream of 401ks and full-coverage health plans including dental and vision and the possibility as well of certain cosmetic operations suddenly pale in the presence of the fact of consciousness pure and simple the fact that you are even here alive thinking this and you plan to go home and lie awake still thinking of these things but of course you don't
I'm with you in the File Room
where you suddenly realize it's five o'clock and though there is no factory whistle there's a change in the air because now no one can tell you what to do but what do you do with your new five o'clock freedom here in a silent room by yourself overlooking the river entirely free to go yet stuck in place because of some unexplainable meditative calm that's come over you and then the sudden grip of it and out you come to return unfinished filing to the cart at a speed that would be running if it weren't for your two inch heels that click so loud on the hallway's tile floor
I'm with you in the File Room
where in my dreams at last you discover the hidden location of client/matter #16522/322 and slip in the final court transcripts and turn with a light in your eyes to inform me that the filing is finished that there is no more filing to be done.

by Abraham Schneider
be sure to see Footnote to File 
in Volume 2 Issue 2

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