My Executive is not functioning
Their suit is creased,
They cannot find their papers
And their briefcase
Is full of ash.
The ash is from my burnout
And it spills all over the office
In great clouds,
In a fine dust
That will take some time
To clean up.
In the meantime
My constant hand flapping
Is spreading the ash still further
And it reflects the light
Coming in from the windows
And makes stimmy patterns
In the air.
When the ash settles on the desk
I like to run my fingers through it
And make circles in it
And then wash my hands
Because it feels a bit weird
On my skin.
Sand is nicer to play with.
My Words keep going AWOL
But they never leave a forwarding address
They just disappear.
I think they go off for a holiday
Or perhaps they’re just down the pub
Enjoying a few pints
And a pie and chips.
Maybe that’s why my Diagnosis
Was so late.
It was sitting in the pub
For 45 years
Eating pies and drinking beer
And because it has such
It didn’t realise that it had missed
The last train.
Although it finds trains
Rather stressful anyway.
And leaving the pub
Would have meant change,
Doing something different.
It just gave in to
And, of course
Because everybody has such poor
Nobody was able to tell anybody
Where it was.
And night after night
My Executive got home
And ate the same takeaway for dinner
Because even before the burnout
They couldn’t function very well
And needed their friend Routine
Who liked to have the same thing
Every night for dinner anyway.
And keeping Routine happy
Was always good.
Mask bullied my Executive
And tried to make them function properly
And told Routine to stop being so stupid.
Mask was an annoying tit.
Irritating and itchy,
No matter how many labels I cut out of it.
It looked good though
Everybody told me so.
But it got too warm.
It kept trying to keep the Words
But they kept slipping out
The back door
Then things started to melt
At the edges
Senses went a bit haywire
And there were explosions
And people started to notice.
My Executive stopped coming home some nights
And stayed at the office
To keep cool
And avoid the bullying.
Routine gave up eating
And sat in the corner
Rocking hard and hitting themself and tearing their skin.
And then when the Words got home
After a night on the town
They told me that my Diagnosis
Had been seen in the pub
And that closing time
Was fast approaching.
Last orders had been declared.
When my Executive
Returned from the office the next evening
They found Routine crying in the garden,
Clutching a fidget cube and a furry tangle.
My Words explained what had happened
By typing into an iThing.
Mask had got too hot.
Way too hot.
Melting down had increased
No time to cool.
Mask had cracked in the heat and would no longer stay on.
Sparks, flames, and total burnout.
Explosions so loud that ear defenders were needed.
Piles of smouldering ash everywhere,
Which my Executive tried to put into their briefcase,
Though they didn’t help with functioning
And eventually made a mess in the office.
But just as all seemed lost,
My Diagnosis finally got back from the pub
With an official Report
(And a kebab).
Mask should never have been worn for that long
Masks when worn for long periods
And are a burnout risk.
Safety procedures had not been followed.
Report said that
Routine needed care and love,
My Words should be allowed to come and go as they liked.
My Executive needed an assistant to function
(And would also have to sweep up the burnout ash,
Which could take a while).
Diagnosis explained that communication was hard
And that Report had said so.
And everybody finally understood
What had been going on
And jumped up and down to celebrate.
Diagnosis was a bit drunk by now
So they went on the Internet
And ordered loads of spinners and toys and pretty lights
And everybody settled down
Under their weighted blankets
To recover from the events.
And they ate kebabs every night for months.
Because they always ate kebabs.
Because Routine liked them.