Treadmill in a Box

Treadmill in a BoxOutside the sun shines, and I’m in a box.
Inside I sit amongst upholstered walls,
Staring all day at a glowing glass screen
Under the flickering fluorescent lights.

Papers pile up on every surface.
Duplicate, triplicate and quadruplicate, too.
Punch some holes and fill some binders.
I copy, sort and file for later.

Email, phone calls, meeting requests.
Snail mail, faxes and sticky notes too.
Schedule a meeting. Schedule another.
I do my work in the minutes between.

I stretch my legs and walk outside
For a minute of midday sunshine.
Gaze out at the concrete desert,
The freeway and the office park.

An office park is not a park.
The concrete’s no substitute for trees.
The grinding decibels of the freeway
Hurt my head as I go back inside.

The afternoon drags and the Muse goes home.
Drudgery and monotony rule the day.
Caffeine keeps me moving
Till it’s time to go home.

Outside the sun shines in the west.
Soon I will join it as it sets.
Squeeze in an hour of afternoon light
Before night hides it from me once more.

Despite the darkness, I feel release.
I forget about the memos and meetings.
For a few hours my time is my own
And I’m free from the treadmill in a box.


Have you ever felt the hopelessness of a dead-end job? How did you cope? Let me know in the comments.

Steve Lovelace

Steve Lovelace is a writer and graphic artist. After graduating Michigan State University in 2004, he taught Spanish in Samoa before moving to Dallas, Texas. He blogs regularly at

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2 Responses

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