Tuesday, August 16, 2011

poem of the day 08.16.11


ken shared an apartment
with a group of us
years ago
he was a tidy sort of guy
swept a lot
always had his shirt
tucked into his jeans
the rest of us were a mess
smoking cigarettes
leaving the ashtrays full for months
getting stoned
piling beer bottles in dusty corners
living on television reruns
and hot dog dinners

ken had a third floor bedroom
when he came home
from work
he walked by us without
saying anything
and went right up to his room
only coming down again
to make one of those
packaged dinners
that always had
the right amount
of meat and vegetable
and dessert

ken once told me that
he didn’t think it was fair
that he had to pay the cable bill
because he was never
downstairs with the rest of us
wasting our lives
in front of the idiot box

my girlfriend and i
had a dog at the time
it was a dumb move
because we could hardly
take care of ourselves
and every time that ken
would come home from work
the dog would get nuts
and try to run after him
as he made his way away from us
and up to his bedroom
on the third floor

the dog liked ken
better than she liked me
or the girlfriend

but one night
just after ken made one of his
packaged dinners
he received a phone call
which he took right in the kitchen
just as i was returning
from taking the dog for a walk
ken looked nervous
talking to someone in front of us
virtual strangers
of course the dog ran right to him
trying to smell his balls
when he pushed her away
she went right over
to where his dinner was cooling
knocking the whole thing
on the floor
eating it before any of us had a chance
to stop her

i had to spring for ken’s
dinner that night
and soon after the dog was gone

toward the end of our lease
the group of us got
the big idea
to see what was in ken’s room
we waited until he went out
one night
then we all walked up the steps
taking each floor slowly
when we opened ken’s door
it was like walking into another home
he had a couch and a bed
a small refrigerator full of beer
a coffee table
art prints on the wall
posters for avant-garde films
and a carpet that gave the room
a real touch

nothing was out of place

ken’s one room was nicer
than the whole house we’d rented

we wondered how and when
he got everything up there

in the corner of the room
he had a television
with a state of the art
vhs and dvd combo
ken had a stack of films
all lined up
he had the big ones
godard and fellini
truffaut, fuller, and cassavetes
the group of us looked
at the films
and then we walked around
still caught in the shock
of its splendor

before we left
to return back to our ashtrays
and squalor
our hot dogs
and malt liquor liters
our dirty shangri-la on the first floor
i sat on the couch
and picked up ken’s remote

i turned his tv set on

sure enough
the bastard had split the wires
and was getting cable.

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