Monday, July 26, 2010

Evening Storm, Late at Work

I sat in my cubicle and watched my monitor screen
All that afternoon and into the evening
As the July storms rolled across Michigan,
As Doppler radar blobs of green, yellow, and red
Crept from left to right across the digital map on my monitor.

I stood on my tiptoes to try to see
Across rows upon rows of cubicles, all emptied at five o'clock,
Across to the far-off window
Where I could barely spy
The very edge of a dark cloud,
Looming over the grey walls of the cubicle maze.

I climbed on my chair, from there to my desk,
Until I stood atop a boxful of folders,
So that I could lean over the cubicle's walls
To see all the way to the windows,
To see beyond the cubes
Where I could see vast heaps of angry clouds piled up
Churning black and grey, bruised green and purple,
Looming closer
While lightning lit the shadows underneath
Turning night to day, again and again.

I climbed carefully back down off the pile of folders
Down off my desk, and then sat back in my chair
Where I looked again at the screen.
The little colorful blobs kept their stately pace,
Creeping slowly from left to right
Across the digital map on my monitor.

Thunder rolled through the rows of empty cubicles,
Rattling sleek keyboards and old coffee cups.

The little blobs continued to creep across my monitor.

Thunder rolled through my own cubicle,
Rattling my monitor with its green, yellow, red blobs.
I put my hands on my desktop
To feel it tremble at the sound.

And then I stood up.

I abandoned:
--My cubicle
--My desk
--My chair
--My boxful of folders
--My grey cubicle walls

I abandoned my monitor with its little creeping blobs.

I ran through aisles of empty cubicles.
I ran down the stairs.
I ran out the double glass doors, locked at this hour.
I ran out into the parking lot
Where my little grey car stood alone
Far, far from the building.

The dark clouds loomed,
Closing in overhead,
Billowing and flashing,
Driving the very air before them
In a vast gust front
That swept across the trees,
And the manicured grass,
And the asphalt,
And me.

I stood alone in the vast parking lot
With my arms thrust up into the air,
As I stopped and spun about in the wind,
While sheets of rain marched closer,
Twigs and branches blew past me,
The wind roared in tune with the thunder,
And dust swept across the asphalt.

The first cold drops of rain struck the hot pavement
And disappeared in puffs of steam.
Lightning fell about me --
A bolt exploded into an electrical pole
Just at the edge of the parking lot
Sound and flash swept over me,
As one with the wind and the rain
And the frantic clouds.

I ran.

I ran from the building.
I ran for my little grey car
I ran across the black asphalt
I ran across the yellow lines
I ran before the wind and the rain
I ran from the lightning and clouds
I ran until I reached my car and jumped inside,
Cold rain soaking my shirt.

There, safe in my car,
Rain still dripping down my face,
I relaxed in the driver's seat,
And sat very quietly,
Watching water sheeting across the windshield
While my heavy breaths fogged it from inside,
And the storm washed over me.


  1. This is right up there with the blossoms poem. Just great, John.

  2. Inspired, John. This is really lovely, almost worthy of a 5:30 am call to pass along praise!

  3. Great modern-man-meets-the-elememnts poem!