Thursday, August 2, 2012

I Am Not Sad

Google "100 NE Columbia Blvd Portland" and the Kraft Bakery will come up. Open the map and switch to satellite view. North is to the top as usual. The bakery is very large. In the Northwest corner there is a rectangular roof with a barrier visible that divides a larger rectangle on the left and a narrower one on the right. To the left of that barrier are two air handling units. Directly under them is where my cubicle is located. I have worked out of that cubicle most of the time since 1997.

Our current product mix:
Line 1 - Ritz Crackers
Line 2 - Premium Crackers
Line 3 - Oreos, either regular or double stuff.
Line 4 - Snacks, either Wheat Thins or Chicken in a Bisket.
Line 5 - Chips Ahoy!
Line 6 - Snacks, either Wheat Thins or Chicken in a Bisket.

I have done major design work affecting all those lines as well as the bulk raw material delivery systems and the dough mixer and delivery support systems, such as the salt usage and the leavening. My work has taken me to all the nooks and crannies on the main floors and up and down the tower. While made up of six industrial floors, the tower is actually more like ten commercial stories tall. I used to walk the stairs. Now I use the elevator.

Today I went to two back to back work meetings concerning (1) Violence in the work place, and then (2) lock out and tag out and other safety procedures. I was paid by getting lunch paid for. I am not yet back to work, just over three months off. I inspected my cubicle where not a paper has been disturbed, waiting for my return. I hear my boss is leaving for work in Michigan for eight months. He has a guy left in charge of the work place and his daughter in charge of the rest of his business. We all think something is coming up at the bakery in a short while, some things slated for next year but the thought is that they will be brought forward to winter's work this year.

It's a helluva note. I'm 67 in November but I don't have enough money to bow out. I got to keep working, boss.

I Am Not Sad

I shed like a snake
But have no fangs, no poison.
Many lives, long gone.

I slither to the table
And dine in costume as if
I too were real.

I am fantasy, shadow,
God's chosen old fool.

Last Posted November 24, 2008


  1. Christopher, after reading about your work situation (ugh, good luck), the poem struck me as sort of helpless. The snake sheds its skin in the natural course of things, but fangless? No venom? That's sad for the snake, an unnatural state of being. Kind of like being 67 and unable to retire. Peace, Amy

  2. I guess you don't believe the title of the poem then. The title could only be a bluff, I suppose, spoken in the face of implacable forces. On the other hand, the title could ask of me if I could find a way to experience a fangless snake who has shed so many times he no longer feels real and has become a fool but is not sad about it all.

    In other words, can I be not sad about getting old? I am not sad. I fit in my own fresh skin, fresh fantasy, a supple shadow, happy to be God's chosen old fool. This is still true. I wrote the poem in 2008. This is 2012. Rumors that I am getting old have been confirmed.

  3. This is odd, but familiar. I do have a leaping heart. It is just strange that my heart leaps towards you with that burst of recognition of kindred and articulate spirit that has me saying that I love you. Because you are a poet and these barriers reveal only our hearts I dare to say this. I know it isn't true in the durable sense, how could I know that? But in the sense I love a flower, a bug, a poem, entire, glorious, miraculous. In poetry, we express miracles, if we find the way. It is like birdsong how it emerges, bringing Tiphareth to Malkuth.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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