Poetry and prose
Public domain image

Aliens and booze in the cubicle Saturdays


Working Saturdays at the StarNews some years ago in Wilmington – listening to the police scanner, making calls to police stations in the region, sifting through police reports, driving to incidents and covering general assignments – was always “hit or miss.”

Some Saturdays I was largely bored out of my mind except for coffee and conversation with my Saturday office mate, and had to try to make police reports such as “teenager steals stereo from aunt” sound interesting.

Other Saturdays I was swamped with work, like that one mid-summer shift when I had to write 11 stories alone. It was a whirlwind. I don’t remember much of what I wrote about, except that dozens of people were getting caught in rip currents and rescued, some even drowned, I think, and I had to constantly call for updates – in between running after other police scanner leads. Exhausting for me, more exhausting for the people involved, I’m sure. There was also the occasional heinous crime I had to scramble to write about when the whole reporter crew was out for the weekend.

The Saturday I wrote this poem was one of the uneventful ones, when I really felt the oppression of the cubicle around me and wished I was intoxicated. So this hallucinatory piece came out, involving alcohol, vandalism and making out with aliens, along with other activities not approved by Corporate.

I entered the poem in a contest, just for the hell of it, and lost.

Coloring, by Ana Ribeiro

the discolored gray spots
in the cubicle around me
are variations in the color of the sky
as a plane cuts through,

the whirring of the printer
is the sound of the turbine,

the interoffice memos
are last-minute tickets
to a planet of my choice,

and just as I pack up
to leave…

the large, pale panels of light
above my head
become beams from a spaceship –

the aliens come to me.

my boss is from Venus
and my coworkers’ smiles

Brazilian coffee
pours out of a bathroom faucet,

while the other one gushes
Irish beer.

The voices on speaker phone
sing hip hop
and the saturnine clerk
in the corner cube decides to dance –

and plants a slimy kiss
on a Martian.

The moody moon people
rip the post-it notes
with all the important people’s
phone numbers.

The Mercurians tear holes
in the walls
so we can see the sun.

I squint.

I turn.

I hear, “Are you done?”

I sit down to work another one.

A Global Studies doctoral degree holder and former newspaper reporter, avid eater, pseudo-philosopher and poet, occasion-propelled singer, semi-professional socializer, movie addict, Brazilian-American nomad. In this space, she will share some of her experiences and (mis)adventures regarding various topics, with special attention to social issues.

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