Dolly Lemke




I’m quitting after the work party

35 each for boat ride
20 for the cab
Boss gave his assistant 2000 in cash
Dana Hotel rooftop
No ID but here’s a 100
Thanks man, top floor now
Shrimp mini burger hummus sushi
Drink all night it’s Wednesday
Pork ribs jalapeno popcorn french fries

I guess this is goodbye

Money gets moved from one account to another
We want to get to 250 million

What does that even mean?

I want to be able to afford my birth control

I learned the definition of liquid asset and drove a Maserati one block

Yesterday I stuffed 4500 folders
Office Internet usage is on the rise

Bankers don’t know excel spreadsheets
Bankers don’t know PDF zoom buttons
Bankers in charge of what now

Baby’s sick
Go home
With pay
But I don’t have a baby

You cannot pick up your prescription one day early

Change your body’s cycle
Thank you, pharmacy, for calling

Does a family atmosphere comfort you?
Let’s be more corporate

How much of this can I tell you?

How long have you worked here?
Nine months I can’t believe it

Boss is sad to see you go
I know you’re fucking the realtor
I know so much that I don’t care anymore

Anything we can do to make you stay?
Be different.

Thank you, boss, I really needed a Tiffany’s key chain

I definitely get the passion, Boss says
It’s like golf
Poetry = golf


How often did you discuss your future career with your supervisor?
First of all, who the fuck is my supervisor

A future of mass printing wasn’t appealing

This was really interesting

I have to go get laid off now


Unemployment office phone calls are no fun
Can you make more sense please?

So it’s a debit card to use freely?
No, not at all

It’s borderline food stamps
It’s communal living saves you from food stamps

Getting a severance package is as sexy as it sounds
except it’s too much sexy to handle
so you don’t want it

I would have said
I’m sorry we didn’t check the budget
or something like
our fiscal year had just begun
since we have been acquired

we’re letting you go = fired
No matter how you say it

I can’t negotiate salary
because all money is the same to me

I’m strict enough to know
I can afford to smoke five cigarettes per day

Now I smoke less than everything
8AM is sleeping in

Pretend we can trade for all we need
Pretend you ever know what you’re doing

HTML code is stupid and I refuse to learn it


Just be prepared to leave
and don’t work to make friends
or fall in love

They should know you’ll end up heart crushing them

Why is your salary such a secret?
Since I guessed right enough, take care of me with money
and make breakfast and wrap me up real tight

At the DoubleTree Hotel we found out following information:





But there’s a fence around us
and we’ll stay the same for this many months

I’m scared about my car payment and everything else
I like making money to pay for pizzas and not cooking

If you could just come over here
and stand close behind me
and kiss my neck
knowing its disastrous and mythical
but that dying of shame
is infinitely more exciting

The importance of social networking is staggering
Yet the ability to build a community online is fallacy

My job is to make that true

I only produce work approximately 45% of the time

Sitting in my cubicle and not talking to anyone for 9 hours
is better than almost every other part of my day:

Alarm clock
Business casual
Eating in front of coworkers
Learning Management System

Fuck, everyone is stupid


DOLLY LEMKE received a MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago. Her poems have appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Best American Poetry 2010, horse less review, Super Arrow, and Court Green. She works as Assistant Editor at Switchback Books and is the founder and co-curator of The Dollhouse Reading Series. Her chapbook, O Town Heights was published by DoubleCross Press in 2012. Current favorite pastimes include taking the perfect profile photo, drinking expensive beer, and winning at poker after drinking the expensive beer.


Read more by Dolly Lemke:

Poem at Sink Review
Poem at Express Milwaukee