Pardon Our Appearance, #180

We are under construction,
tearing down the deities
of our first days, that old sign
we nailed up so proudly
which has since cracked and faded.
Do you even remember
when all the letters were lit?

Let’s tear out the countertop
and the booths where we welcomed
highschool sweethearts who snuck in
to grab a conversation
in the guise of a soda
and fries before running home
to where they couldn’t bemoan
their missing kindred out loud.

How much amor was wasted
in those bedrooms, with the sheets
pulled up and the doorknob locked.
Under the breath of that teen
angst, that loud heavy metal,
how many of us had to
find out what human form
was designed for by trial
and mostly error. Our hands
seeking out information
and then coming back empty.
And try as they might, parents
wanting to keep us safe, pure
and ignored offered advice,
strategies and solutions
that best answered their concerns.
No doubt the result remains
a culture hid from itself,
tied up in itself, grown fat
and slow to avoid having
to turn and face the body.

We are under construction,
sandblasting the concrete walls
here to remove graffiti
left here by the elephants,
who, in each conversation
we have, sit, apparently
in the middle of the room.

On these walls they left their mark,
a paw print from that oddly
enormous foot. What I can’t
seem to figure out is how
they were able to raise up
their leg high enough to reach
an area me, tall me,
needs to stretch my arm to reach.

Please, pardon our appearance
in your work of art. See, we
are just the custodial staff
brought into make sense and hide
whatever defect has crept
its way into your business.
Call it insurance. If you
were in another business,
say, the US Government,
we would be black-ops, or worse,
the black-ops even black-ops
doesn’t know about. So don’t
tell no one. Just go about
your daily living, eating
and shopping, mastering life
at your small business. Just keep
voting Republican. Look
the other way when we cut
your benefits to pay for
your competitors tax-breaks.
We all like to cut taxes.

We are under construction,
in therapy to learn how
to talk to each other, share
our feelings, find a language
that works for the both of us
and upsets no one. We have
swore off all offensive talk.

Let’s make a list of the words
that push each other’s buttons
and post them on the freezer
door and point to them each time
one of us steps in it. Cause,
I don’t want to upset you.
Honestly, it just happens,
mostly through my negligence.

I will lay claim to the crutch
that what I do is never
cold, mean, angry, vindictive,
but based on my gender’s lack
of understanding, or some
chemical imbalance that’s
centered round the chromosomes
and hormones rushing through
veins due to monthly cycles.
Let’s blame biorhythms, waves,
sines and cosines, periods
and questions. Mark my words, too
one day soon you will wake up
to find yourself mesmerized
by the mirror and wonder
what could have been if you had
taken that offer offered
by the boy in high school who
said he wanted to study
sex, love, biology. If
you had came on the come on.

We are under construction
and socially conscious, now,
of the clothes we are wearing,
what they suggest about us,
and what global exchanges
we are buying into. See,
this says made in India.

I want to wear camisas
made of dog hair shaved right off
of Spot and knitted into
an afghan from Chihuahua.
Not possible, huh? I need
to sheer Lassie, some long haired
bitch or collie, a corgi
or maybe german shepherd.

It’s a dog’s life living here,
having to bust hump daily
just to order the kibble
and the gravy. A train leaves
San Francisco at seven
carrying all your family
and loved ones. You are working
the weekend to make up for
a sick day off you needed.
Another train leaves DC
and both are passing red lands
at top speeds. Somewhere inside
Kansas, on tracks that should have
been switched, the two trains collide
in a ball of volcano
like fire, leaving behind
the unnameable ashes
of everyone who you loved.
You ask for days off, to fly
for the funeral. The boss
tells you the business needs you.

We are under construction,
doing push ups and sit ups
to tighten the abs and work
the glutes. Watching calories
and counting carbs to keep
down cholesterol and up
our spirits. Hope he likes it.

And if this body won’t work
then we can replace it with
one made of alloy steel
or better, plastic, liquid
gel caps like a Tylenol
for the pain of our beauty,
agony of our aging.
A pill one day will save me.

As I lower myself down
onto the couch to settle
in my widening waist line,
circumnavigate the thoughts
that wallow inside, I’m forced
to face the very real
possibility that life
is merely the sum total
of what you consumed today,
that the cliche may be true.
You are what you eat. I know
that may sound corny. Believe
me, I consider it cheese.
But cheese is what I prepared
for dinner, on top of sauce
on top of pasta, on top
of chicken nugs and mushrooms
and pizza and a veggie
sub (to cut down calories).
We are here, remodeling
to best serve your every need.



A day is not done, until it's filled with words.

One thought on “Pardon Our Appearance, #180

  1. Thank you for the link, but whatcha doin up sooo late? Don’t you know you have to work in the morn’en? The sacrifice seems to be worth it, cause your poem is beautiful & just the right number of lines…. I think:-) -NJ

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