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Three Poems by José Vadi

There is a Sundial at the Berkeley Pier


asking God for the time;

returned Rolex

with tags on instead

“Too Loud,”
she says


and I can relate -

sleeping inside

a grandfather's clock

submerged in half

the financial district

4k/monthly     bathroom included

wall to wall

for the job to IPO
          margin walkers


forehead scaled

overhead so feared

necks crane to

cranes in the sky


tent city

sunken / illuminated

 just the same


“that one guy, you ‘member”

they’ll say at the gates,

1848 years from infinity and

I still couldn't find parking

walked into traffic

to find pearls

measured / illuminated / prophesied

just the same




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.





seen souls fly from subsidized

cafeteria to cross-team conference

calls muted voices better suited

for suits over faux casual fatigues


this is the end of the line

of the freeways turned metros

that imminent domain’d the kids

we projected initial crushes upon


deadbolt golden locks at Metro’s end
hang framed labor taxman to activist
claim make Struggle™ necessary


click-informed every employer

from Silicon to Telecom

upon digital application:        

yes, “Hispanic-Latino”
          no, not a veteran of assigned wars
                    no, no illnesses metamorphosize
                              into hour less points of sky
                              tightening chest cavities away
                              this other half of my heart


yes no no
check yes no no


every morning

slow hands scream

clock in



someone else’s


José Vadi

José Vadi is an essayist, poet, and film producer based in Oakland, California. He is the author of SoMa Lurk - a collection of photos and poems published via Pro Arts Commons - and is the author of the forthcoming essay collection INTER STATE on Soft Skull Press.

Photo Credit: Bobby Gordon
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