Personal Problems

Issue 10 | Summer 2023 |



Everybody’s got stuff going on
by which she means
they shouldn’t bring their flavour
of shit to work
and bother her,
and she’s right, of course, like
that meeting
where we were talking about
profit margins
and our colleague got a phone call
which sent him white,
something which I thought only
happened in cliches,
he left the room and never returned
while we chatted
awkwardly and waited for the technician to
log him out of the presentation.

Everybody’s got something going on
and it’s so true,
it’s almost axiomatic, different
flavours, different depths,
it’s a wonder how anyone’s getting anything
done, with all that
hanging on them. When I asked
Mark how his wife was,
he couldn’t meet my eye for a good
minute, telling me he’d
been showering and eating at work while
they sorted out the
living arrangements, decided which one
of them would move out,
he gulped fat sobs of air between
each sentence.

I’ve got my stuff going on, she’s
got her stuff.
Once in Beirut an explosion in a
storage area was
big enough by number of casualties to
make the news,
bumping off all the other stuff
going on from
the headlines, at least until there was
something worse, so that
it feels like we’re all afloat in some
featureless sea of
personal problems, waiting for the next
big wave
and we cannot care about all of it
so we might as well
not care about any of it, keep our
head above water, draw
that pay cheque,
get shit done.