A Clerical Poetry Biptych by Joan McNerney


Recently Unemployed

His days marched in place
days like tin soldiers each one
pushing the next aside.

Hurry, hurry before it is too late...
inside a gaping hole to be filled.
More and more of the surface
of his life was covered by dust.

The hallway gave off a musty odor.
Night after night, lights burned.
Busted dreams heaped in boxes.
Black marks covered floors.

One edge of his room spoke to
the other. His fan purred all summer,
basement furnace heaved all winter.
This incessant sigh gathering dust.
Less and less energy to clean up.
His body betrayed him, both his
bones, his breath betrayed him.

Tomorrow will be more newspapers,
further rounds of calls, another day of
trying to get appointments. Another day
visiting crowded employment agencies.
Another day not worth remembering.



Word Processor

Margie often thought words
just spilled through her fingers.
It was all learned so long ago
by touch typing in school.

Then she was thrilled by winning
an over ninety-words-a-minute
prize. Margie was sure to
transcribe important documents.

But today she finished the form letter.
Now what must be noted is paragraph
three be included with addressee list five.

Section seven contains financial
disclosure which only went to top list
number one. Someone would check it.

Margie wanted to close her eyes
against this flood of words. Shut
her ears against the pounding of
machines, sighs of other operators.


Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous

literary magazines

such as
Circle Show, Halcyon Days, Blueline, Moonlight Dreamers of Yellow Haze, Poppy Road Review, Bright Hills Press Anthologies and many Kind of a Hurricane Publications. She has been nominated four times for Best of the Net. Four of her books have been published by fine literary presses and she has four e-book titles.