this cheese procedure

What? Two posts--in one day? Something must be wrong with me. ...Or right, I supppose. You know what it was? I was feeling antsy this morning and decided to write instead of taking a book along to read on the bus. So on the morning ride I wrote this here poem, and on the way home I finished up the ballad of the RosaRing, below, the first half of which had languished unfinished in my notebook for quite some time.

Oh, quick poetry note. Rhymed quatrains fall into normal English speech patterns much, much more easily if you alternate between even and odd numbers of syllables per line. This poem goes 8-7-8-7 which is an extremely comfortable line length for your everyday poetry writing needs. Short enough that you never feel like you have to add in extra words to make it come out right, long enough that it takes only the most perfunctory vocabulary gymnastics to trim a long thought down to size.

This does not, by the way, fulfill my intention to write more poems about cheese. Certainly this poem *mentions* cheese, but it's essentially me complaining about sampling events. As such I don't think it's an especially good poem, only a couple notches above the little "buy some soup and a sandwich" songs I make up at the sample table. Hopefully, though, these are complaints with which others who've worked in retail or customer service can identify. Perhaps it will comfort or at least amuse!
Customers, bah! Who needs 'em? (Er...other than, y'know. Everyone.)

train up in this cheese procedure
hold the wheel against the blade
all those corporate sponsors need your
help to feed what they have made

to each doubtful, hungry shopper
who must lay some fruits aside,
skimp on cream, or simply drop her
list to buy what you provide

train up in this cheese procedure
you'll cast orange cubes like darts
customers, pierced through by greed for
flavor, will clear out their carts

fill them up with cheese, with crackers,
all the things you're charged to sell
retail jobs were made for slackers
as some two-bit public hell

where each wedge you slice, so careful,
is inhaled by passersby
who won't stop to get an earful
of your sales pitch, or who try

hard to get your phone and address
knowing fully well you're trapped
smiling, talking, standing at this
table strewn with spit and scraps

if you once should turn your back, slip
to the fridge to slice up more
they will swoop in to attack, strip
plates or knock them on the floor

but you stick to please and thank you,
loud, bright wit and quiet tact
or else people who outrank you
will read you the riot act

train up in this cheese procedure
act as though you have a choice
maybe it's fair trade--you need your
paychecks, and they need your voice.


Julie Hedeen said...

let's hear it for cheese! Yay! I bet you are creating a whole new bar for deli assistants to measure up to. After this, interview questions will be, "Yes, yes, I see that you have great references and experience in food service, but can you sing?" I really hope you can get to the family reunion again this year so we can sing some more.

Fiat Lex said...

:D Thanks! I hope so too. I need to check the vacation schedule at work with an eye to that, though since it is usually scheduled as a three-day weekend I might be able to get a day off. Maybe my manager will give it to me if I start bugging her about it far enough in advance!

I've actually been to a couple cheese meetings, where they bring in deli people from all around the area to have us sit through a PowerPoint. (Same PowerPoint every time! Also that 212 degrees motivational video, which made me cry the first time I saw it, which made me mad cause I was like "I don't want to cry for a cheese meeting! I know how that brainwashy stuff works!") And they make a point of complimenting my singing, which makes me want to hide, but fortunately no one has asked me to train the other deli folks in cheese songs. XD Somehow I don't think I'll show them this poem!

Julie Hedeen said...

Amber told me about the 211 video the other day. I hadn't heard of it but the I like the concept--it makes me finish things when I remember it.