Monday, May 11, 2009

poem of the day 05.11.09

the loner

denny and i worked
the basement of the library
hauling donated books
amidst a ton of dust
and denny was an odd guy
he liked to run everywhere
run to lunch
run back from lunch
run to his car
run down hallways
and denny liked to tell me
that he was a loner
he didn’t need to make friends at work
he didn’t go to the office parties
he didn’t go to the birthday lunches
that the boss bought
denny didn’t like to make conversation
which was fine with me
except for the fact that denny was a total liar
and on those afternoons in the basement
he’d talk my ear off
about leaving the library to become an electrician
or how much his wife spent
how she had a better job than him
a professional job
how the bitch thought she was better than him
they had separate bank accounts
which was denny’s doing back when he
had a better job
now denny regretted this decision
he told me so every day
usually after he talked about
his boyhood in massachusetts
working in his old man’s chemical plant
how he could’ve inherited the place
denny said it was those chemicals
that messed him up
made it hard for him to focus
but you didn’t really need focus
being an electrician
oh, really? i said.
yeah, denny said
and he told me about how electricians
worked alone
how they didn’t have to go
to office parties
or lunches given by the boss
denny said that electricians did their business
and went home
they were loners just like him
i nodded.
i knew more about denny than i did
my friends
yes, i thought, denny was such a loner
that i’d need at least three beers
after the job to get his voice
out of my head
which is exactly what i did most days
walking through the parking lot
and heading straight for the bar
as denny ran by me
on his way to wherever loners went
and i guess the last time i saw denny
was at this chain mexican restaurant
in the north hills of pittsburgh
my wife and i were leaving
and denny was coming in
he was dressed in navy blue coveralls
and was obviously an electrician
we shook hands and denny asked me how
i was
i told him fine
he said he was well then he ran inside
the restaurant
saddling up next to a stranger at the bar
his gums flapping the way the gums
on loners tend to do
probably telling the poor bastard something
about his wife
and all of those chemicals that corrupted his brain
at his old man’s chemical plant
the one he could’ve inherited.

No comments: