Poem: Office Storm

based on a real incident

Office Storm

People stood watching over the cubicle walls

Nervous and startled and lifted

from the tedium of scribing NorTel documentation.

Three Security guards led him

through our rat maze

for the elevator and out of the building for help.

His nervous breakdown blossomed

from two days of muttering at his desk

past full volume yelling this morning and

Papers from his desk hurled up

Like spume hitting the shore rocks

and trying to fly

Jealous of the gulls,

wanting to be the sky,

hating the ocean,

losing, falling back in step.

I remembered his eyes

as we had passed

in the narrow hallways

of the cubicle maze.

All at once looking at me,

looking through me,

afraid of me,

then hating me,

then looking down to the grey industrial carpet

that would never wear out.

I recalled the women who worked near him retreated,

afraid to be victimized in his firestorm.

The manager trying to settle him

suddenly become a factor of zero.

The rage felt good.

That fire just warmed his heart.

The next day the manager asked me

to take over the man’s project assignment.

Three strikes: short deadline,

no work done, and an unfamiliar writing system.

I quit and went home

wondering where he was

and what manufactured calm

they had injected.

What had happened to his sputtering rage.

All the way gone.

All the way escaped.


Author: William J. Gibson

62 year old - writer/photographer Canadian, survived open heart surgery, received kidney transplant, sometimes dour, sometimes amusing, over six feet in height, severely follicle challemged

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