Pastoral Photocopier

Pastoral Photocopier


I look at that picture of Gary Snyder
Bent down on some trail, in some forest, in some outdoors
And I think
I wonder if Gary Snyder worried about health insurance
Had it
Or if the words were even part of his vocabulary


JAM Worried about death
JAM Worried about injuries
JAM Worried about babies
JAM Worried about a clean house
JAM Worried about getting a job
JAM Worried about all the junk
JAM Worried about what to be worried about


This is a meta-wasteland without faith
Numbers chart and shift
Meaningless Meaning
Practically Zen
A fractal of calm
Up the down the over
Eating pie
That sure tastes nice.


The man in the sweat pants
Chants they’ll need a committee
Lest the great institution crumbles.


Faith in photocopiers
That none can fathom
Yet everyone uses
From the bourgeois staff
To the great men of books
All babble at its mystery and bottomless depths
The chairs flounder when they discover charges
Of $16.80 for 112 copies
(The price of pride of all great men)
Call the committee
Bring in the man in sweat pants.


I spend 5 days, send various memos back and forth
$16.80 is less than 2 hours wages for me
For picking up a phone
Stamping paper and
Shepherding the oracle


It amazes me to think that Kerouac’s Japhy Ryde
Uses email.
I wrote him.
He said he was busy, but he was very polite.

Westminster Choir College
Wednesday, 10/3/07

3 thoughts on “Pastoral Photocopier

  1. Nice.

    I can’t bring myself to think too clearly about the deeper issues this thing is dealing with right now.
    But something about the meter, word choice, and allusions at least make me feel like there are deeper issues involved.

    I think it somehow reminds me of some poem you showed me once. Maybe called “The Mower Against The Grass” or something similar?

  2. Andrew Marvell wrote a poem called The Mower Against the Gardens. I didn’t have that poem in mind… but it is certainly a piece which has affected my thinking as a whole where the ordered universe is concerned.

    The poem was inspired by my interactions here with the photocopier, an email to Gary Snyder (of Smokey the Bear Sutra fame) and weirdly enough a Timothy G. Gray who is not my brother. Gray wrote an essay called “Semiotic Shepperds: Gary Snyder, Frank O’Hara and the Embodiment of the Urban Pastoral”. I can’t provide a link to it, but you can get it off JSTOR if you feel so inclined. For the latter though, it was the imagery and not necessarily the argument that I lifted.

  3. Against the Gardens. That’s the one I was thinking of. Although now that you point it out and I actually read it I guess it doesn’t have much to do with your own above.

    Before I worked at my current job I worried alot about health insurance.

    We all need incidents here and there to keep us humble I feel. $16.80 seems like a reasonable surcharge for the privilege.

Comments are closed.