Appearing soon in The Indite Circle
the corner store
the woman at the corner store
doesn’t like to wait on me.
i don’t mind.
she usually writes on forms
or talks on the phone or
stocks the cough medicine
as i stand at the check-out line,
a weekday morning,
unshaved with a long goatee,
with a 40 or 2 tallboys
in front of me.
i’m sure she thinks i’m a drunk
or some kind of pampered
college kid with nothing better to do
on a weekday morning but get wasted.
i wish she was right.
it’s not her silent accusations that
get to me, but the way she looks
me in the eye.
i get embarrassed and think
“what am i doing here, on a
weekday morning, with a 40,
or 2 tallboys in front of me?”
then it is the same old shuffle,
the same old routine of searching
for cash in my wallet,
while i make bad jokes,
when i know the exact amount she wants.
$2.35 (40 oz)
$3.47 (the 2 tallboys).
it is a dance i do to prolong the misery
all because i want us to have some
during this transaction.
i want her to know that i’m all right
and not the cretin she thinks i am.
i want her to understand that
we can enjoy this mutual pain, this necessary exchange.
i don’t know why this is the case
but for some reason the lady at the counter
of the corner store holds more clout
in my eyes than my parents, or instructors,
the bosses, or even some friends.
i want to look good in her eyes.
but i doubt that she knows this.
i’m always too subtle.
and even if she did know
i doubt that she’d care.
they’ll be another one just like me,
coming in shortly after i’ve left.
and i wait for it.
it’s not too bad right now.
i have the radio
and the weather report.
i have the internet.
some days are just like this.
you wake without the mistress.
other days the muse comes with no problem
it strokes you, like a woman’s touch.
you can’t believe it.
it comes pouring out
and you stare at the page wondering
what god made you.
and i still sit here
thinking the morning is too warm
waiting for september to end
and imagining october clouds.
i have a cup of tea
and i think a shot of scotch in it
might do me some good.
my bedroom smells of old clothes
because the washers and dryers
in this place
and the landlord is too cheap
to fix them.
but i am too cheap to write
i hear horns
and morning cars racing up
bay ridge parkway.
monday morning and we are all beginning
the fool’s dance
of the work week.
i know if i can get a good one down
then today won’t be so much like a suicide.
then i wonder what the rest of you do to quell
order a cup of coffee?
have an affair?
watch television or read a book?
and i am in the shit
everyone is waking and the pipes moan here
and you can hear footsteps
along the ceiling
televisions and the flushing of toilets.
we are all packed upon each other here
like bad illusions
stacked like hell one above the other
waiting for it to all come crumbling down
no bailouts here
no bailouts here
still i sit here
the weather checked again
a porn sit perused
the morning creeping.
i have another sip on the tea
forgo the scotch after all,
and realize it is time to give up the ghost
get in the shower
make the lunch
get ready to crucify myself on the morning streets
in the subway
at another desk
hoping the muse will wake with me tomorrow
her flesh thick and ready
to give me a deep