About the Poems
by Roderick Maclean
These poems are from my novel, Tropic/of/Cubicle, which is being released by Spork Press later this month. In the book, they operate as found poems -- ones the narrator presumes are written by a common author somewhere in the nethers of his massive cubicle farm. This poet is creating an inventory of co-workers and modern office dilemmas inspired by Diego Rivera's auto industry murals. Each poem isolates one employee as its subject, albeit with characteristics and predicaments emblematic of a larger pool of workers, often impregnating persona with pseudo-political ideological rants. Issues such as corporate censorship, the bastardization of permanent part-time employees, and group-think excommunication are presented as company-mandated apparel through which some essence of an employee may be felt up, manhandled, or diagnosed.
I started taking notes for this project in the year after I'd left a job at Netscape Corporation, in Mountain View, California. I'd worked in other offices, and other cubicles, in the Valley, but this place, in my experience at least, took the cake. The corporate "campus" (as we are encouraged to refer to them with appropriate collegiate zeal) was enormous -- more than two dozen buildings, punctuated by a dizzying array of sand volleyball courts, rollerhockey rinks, dry cleaning facilities, and reflection ponds. I was ostensibly there as a ghostwriter for one of the company's founders, but the work was dull. I found myself much more interested in the company as organism and in the collection of people there who'd been so closely packed in together. Whenever I'd get a chance, I'd simply walk the halls, and, after work, I'd sometimes poke around the area's edge cities on my motorcycle before heading back up I-280 to San Francisco.
But it wasn't until after I'd left the company, and after I'd spent all of my earnings traveling for several months in Brazil and Argentina, and upon landing back in San Francisco, that I began planning to write something inspired by my experience there. Once I started in earnest, I wrote roughly one poem per week.
Other poems from Tropic/of/Cubicle have been published in eye~rhyme, Diagram, 3AM Magazine, and Spork. More information on the book can be found at www.tropicofcubicle.com.