Monday, January 17, 2005

In favor of steady work

Icing on the cake
was all it takes
to get me to follow
a rule rather than bend it
to what my moment of need
might happen to have been
if I were with a friend
who chided me
on losing my gravitas
in this tight circle
of rules and cash value,

just make it sweet
and neat
as a treat and
as if it were were
a cocktail at the end of a shift
of shuffling orders
and rubber stamping
receipts in big red ink,
rules as they are
are fine if there's a kiss
or at least a nod
at the end of days
when the light darkens
through our office
and retail windows,

pals sans skills
on pills
and copious quantities
of smoke and coke
can stand their corners
and thumb their nose
while they leave
their trail of
running hard luck stories
about how it
was a bit of bad luck,
misunderstanding,
a bad break
they couldn't shake
nor bake as truth fully cooked up
like it were a scheme
that was their dream of becoming,
it's numbing to think all this,
what's remiss in the speech
and dress and the place
where they stand
in a pride that guards
cracks in the sidewalk
as heads nod in sleep,
a respect for weather
that forgives them not
at all
because weather knows them
not all This Fall,

I argue at times
not a wit
nor a flick of
the wrist that
twists every bad note
like it were some
malformed melody
someone else wrote and played,
how long have
I stayed
above water
like an an adult
oughta,
it's a voice, a cash register sense
of the world,
a sales floor
flooded with creme filled donuts
oozing underfoot,
zoo animals charge past
the register stands,
bosses and their assistants
asleep in the front seats
of company cars,

none of this makes
me star or delivers from the Devil
but I am above sea level
and have reveled in
the music of screams of joy
and been blinded by the
coin of the realm
as it it glittered and glinted
while all of us
squinted
and made plans to
go to movies
plays and
dinners our wives and husbands hinted
were the places
to let the evening's big hands
crawl steadily to
another calendar day
spent parsing
the history of
every rotating mystery
and solving this problem,
right now,
big or smaller fork,
fish or pasta,
Coltrane or Satriani,

benefits easier to take
than
nonconforming
myself to oblivion
on a corner where
i would be the boldest
among the coldest.