A Service Industrial Poetry Biptych by Joan McNerney

Long Haul Driver

At first he was thrilled by the road
thinking it an adventure to roam
through cities and states.

His truck a massive 18 wheeler
winding through snake-like
overpasses, gleaming in sunlight
across ten lane highways.

But then he had to drive
so many hours arriving
only to wait for the next
work order, inhaling fumes
in the cold and in the heat.

Later he felt a slave to the
choking engine and ugly
concrete. The same signs
everywhere, big box stores,
eating holes and truck stops
with cheap souvenirs.

Weary of this relentless surge
of everything always going
forward and that demanding clock.
Finally he was left behind.

Grocery Cashier

After punching in, she opens her
register, counts bills and splits
up rolls of coins. Her arms ache
from yesterday. From pulling together
store items, piling them in bags.

Another day in this dismal place.
Saccharine MUSAC, dim lights
dreary corridors, dingy floors.
No clock, no water fountain,
no public restroom. Aisles stocked
with cans, boxes, frozen foods.

Pushing carts full of packaged meat,
donuts, cases of beer...customers
creep up in line. Trance-like they
press forward with crinkled coupons,
handing out cash or swiping cards.

A camera is poised on her.
Registers are monitored and
the number of sales counted.
Making sure nothing slips by,
“The Man” is always watching.

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.