Better Than Fiction: Odes to the Process

I love to travel for work
I love to book hotels
I love getting airline miles
But our online travel software’s hell
I hate to select my dates
I hate to scan receipts
I hate to enter accounting codes
But the per diem can’t be beat
I might get reimbursed
I just as might might not
It pretty much all depends
On what gift for the admin I have brought

Thou still unfinish’d pride of bureaucrats,
Thou byproduct of Dullness and no Thought,
Federal agency, which canst thus work at
A policy doc more boring than it ought:
What unpaid intern frets about thy text
With changes tracked and comments, accept all,
In margins with red marks for each font change?
What plans or strategies? What way to stall?
What true purpose? What worry of what’s next?
What mass revisions? What to rearrange?
O Policy doc! unreadable! with page
Of acronyms and abbreviations used,
With text outdated as the paper’s age;
Thou, department style! Dost drive us to drink booze
As doth comments from: Assistant Secretary!
When new laws shall the document make moot,
Thou shalt remain, within the agency
Past us, repeatable, part of the institute,
‘Policy is process, as is process policy
And like many a disease hereditary.’

Our counterparts arrive early,
Awaiting us at the visitors’ entrance
I go downstairs to greet them alone
Forgetting the escort limit is two.
The guard at the desk sounds surly,
Looking them up in the computer
I swear I registered them via phone
At last the officer lets them through.
It would have been more worth it, er
If they’d brought along an interpreter

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