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Bay Poets

'Ceilings' by poet José Vadi

José Vadi is an award-winning essayist, poet, playwright and film producer. He is the author of Inter State: Essays from California and Chipped: Writing from a Skateboarder's Lens.


the opacity of this ceiling chaps my

fingertips / cursors bend nail into

molded ergo palms / cryogenic my posture

feels in this precursor to automated everything

we are the user experience engendered from

board room to elevator to catered buffet to 401(k) workshop

this ceiling’s ventilation was acquired after the third tech boom

inherited from wartime computerization / DoD contracts /

post-war plans for GI class / this motherboard has

a licensed Jim Crow affiliate in Pleasanton / an antebellum

offshore account in Argentina

we have been the industry

driven by data for years (now) it’s handheld

to our optimized touch

this ceiling is in

my back pocket

the tip of my nose / it smells

like two hundred year old insulation;

like my next breath.