Published on Academy of American Poets (https://poets.org)


Hills of Bureaucracy

In the event
that the engagement
shall be prevented
by reason of war,
Act of God, strike,
civic tumult, epidemic
or any other cause
beyond the control
of either agreeing party,
which is deemed
to be “force majeure,”
the agreed parties
shall be respectively
relieved of their obligations
contained herein and
return to the rolling hills
of bureaucracy,
a deep green field
of barley, more hills
with hay bales, no sky:
an argyle of crops,
following emergency exits 
and evacuation plans
to the long and winding
road that leads
to your door.

That would be 15 A
on the updated form,
the red door
with a mat and rack
for your shoes
of a cottage in the village.
Let the minutes state
you’ve had a tiresome   
journey through various causes
on the lengthy lavender road
past blaze orange fields
that shall include revolutions,
riots, wars, acts of enemies,
national state local
emergency, strikes,
floods, fires, epidemics,
quarantine, embargoes,
or unusually severe weather,
and that we’re not responsible
or liable for any loss
or damage, for delays
in performance
or failure to perform.
The 10 point font path
has brought you to the Open Forum
on Comprehensive
Internationalization,
where the committee
invites input from the whole
community about where
we are at and where
we should go,            
which thatched houses  
for which gas stations
in the settlements of
educational plans, mission
statements, internal hiring.
The designated spokesperson
from the institutional
advancement office is explaining:
This is a plan for all
of us. A family reunion
hosted by Human Resources
in partnership
with Business Intelligence,
Focus on Core Academic Function,
so the member
at the back of the conference room
knitting wooly yarn clouds
as stress relief
should get a grip.
We’ve all stopped
our planting in favor
of administering to
attend this conference
on the administration of planting,
Cc: all: the assistant to, vice-,
associate, interim, acting,
chief, head of, associate director.
Staples for vineyards.
Collated construction
plans are in departmental
mail boxes. Approving
the minutes from yesterday,
let’s send the next presenter back
like a salmon stunned w/ frustration
who weeps with frustration
into the whirling vortex
of a policy about policy,
a few hay bales,
shade trees for cattle
or the sub-committee to
this committee,
though Party 1 is not a fish
but a person who must drive
back in his rental Kia,
the application form
was incomplete.
Next order of business:
those ornamental wild
grasses planted
last year for the parade,
tall, on the highway divide
on Route 2 South,
junction of JFK Boulevard
and South Main,
a deathtrap or death wish?

Credit


From Battle of Silicon Valley at Daybreak (Spuyten Duyvil, 2022). Copyright © 2022 Alexandria Peary. Used with permission of the author.

Author


Alexandria Peary

Alexandria Peary was born to an American father and a German mother in Dover, New Hampshire and grew up in her parents’ convenience store in central Maine. She received a BA from Colby College; MFAs from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire. Peary is the author of five volumes of poetry: Battle of Silicon Valley at Daybreak (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021); The Water Draft (Spuyten Duyvil, 2019); Control Bird Alt Delete (University of Iowa, 2014), winner of the Iowa Poetry Prize; and Lid to the Shadow (Slope Editions, 2011), recipient of the Slope Editions Book Prize.

Peary specializes in mindful writing to alleviate writing blocks and is the author of Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing (Routledge, 2018). Her presentations on mindful writing include a web series for the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), a webcast for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), and her 2019 TEDx talk, “How Mindfulness Can Transform the Way You Write.” Peary is also the author of a collection of creative writing pedagogy co-edited with the poet Tom C. Hunley, Creative Writing Pedagogies for the Twenty-First Century (Southern Illinois University Press, 2015).

Peary teaches at Salem State University and is the poet laureate of New Hampshire.

Read about Alexandria Peary’s 2020 Poets Laureate Fellowship project.

Date Published: 2022-01-01

Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/hills-bureaucracy