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Coffee Machine by Joaquin Carvel

forty-five cents
for a bad cup
of vending machine coffee.

the vending machine man
didn’t stock lids
again.

i think about him
and about the janitor
wiping down the sinks and
hauling trash
and the men who tromp around
on the roof,
banging on the air conditioners
every month
to get them humming again.

they didn’t get
the email from corporate
with the link
to the newsletter
with the article
about how we are poised
to “boost efficiency”
through “consolidation”

“it was a very tough decision”
said the boss
who has been in our building
once
in four years,
“knowing it will
affect people’s lives”

listen, not having lids
affects people’s lives.

not having jobs
alters them.
suspends them.
holds them hostage
in paper cups
while all the heat
escapes.

i drink bad coffee
in front of
rows of chips
and candy bars,
sodas,
burritos and pre-packaged sandwiches
neatly stacked
behind the glass.

so here we are;

forty-five cents
a line of machines

and lids
that just don’t fit
our cost structure
anymore.

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