01 October 2008

david labounty

the garden

Sunday, my
are growing
in the garden
and I'm
myself with
bottles of
beer and I
yell and
curse at
them when
they get
out of line,
when they
don't grow
the right
way and
they resent
me the same
way I resented
my father
with his vodka
on the rocks

Monday comes
with its
salaried hours
of dollars and
grief and
and blood
with beer
and reality
TV and
this is how
the weeks
and the years
and the life goes,
this is how

the seeds
of this
repeating class
are sown.

a victory with no moral at all

you have friends,
a few, some
know each
other and
some don't
and you've
all been bonded
by your
beer drinking
culture and
one friend
is a cop
and he
has the power
of a gun and
badge and
people respect
him while
he's at work
and you don't
get that kind
of respect at
your job
behind a
dirty auto
repair counter

but your policeman friend

says the job
and the people
get to him, picking
up dead kids
off of sidewalks
on a gentle
summer Sunday evening
and arresting the
same drunks
over and over
after they smash
their ugly wives'
faces just one
more time gets
really old and
you can relate
to difficult
people because
they hand you
their keys all
day every day
already bitching
before you
even give them
a price and

you are both
sitting at the
bar of a tavern
long past its prime
but it's still
a refuge
from domesticity
and wage-slaving
and not foreign at all.

the conversation
continues and
you both have
war stories
and though your
car stories
are no match
for police stories
you still find
a minor victory
and silently pat yourself
on the back because
unlike your
friend with the badge

you really don't
have to drink light beer.

there is always you, and someone like you

somehow, you manage
to hold hands and all
all of it is made worse
by the lawyer who
someone told you was
the best, he is young
and smooth skinned

and probably

younger than you,
and you realize
that you've never
been the best at
anything and there
you are with your
wife, the makeup
on her face
just a piece of
cellophane over
the stress you've
inflicted, the gravity
of the situation
is pulling her
features down and
you're laying it
all out in the open,
the foreclosure
and the credit cards

and the lawyer
is writing it
all down on
a legal pad and
what you thought
was a long list
of a life gone
astray only takes
half a page and
the lawyer stretches,
yawns and tells
you how much
all of this is
going to cost
and you are
a little disappointed,
like the child
who realizes
he isn't the
center of the
universe anymore,
and the lawyer
drops his pen,
his way of
saying he's
dealt with
like you a
times before.

you can't always judge a man by the shoes he wears

it was a minivan,
about eight years old
and he wanted his left
front tire fixed
but I couldn't
fix it because
it had steel
cords poking
through the
side not to
mention the
fact that all
of his tires
were bald
and not to
mention the
fact that his
left rear shock
was missing.

and his brakes,

I could hear them
squeaking as he
swung the van
into my parking
lot and I could
see the van
sagging as he
marched into my
shop wearing
shiny new tennis shoes
and faded jeans
and a faded gray
gray and faded hair.

I brought him
out into the shop
after the van
was up in the air
and I showed him his tire,
I showed him the shock
that wasn't there
and I mentioned

the brakes in an

sort of voice
and he started
to get angry and told
me to fix his goddamn
tire and quit trying
to take him for a ride
but I couldn't fix his
tire even if I
wanted to and
right then and there
I didn't want to,
and he stomped
his feet and said
he couldn't afford
no goddamn tire
and his face got
really red and
his nostrils flared
and I saw a lot
of silver and black
hair poking out
of those flared nostrils.
this damn thing
is costing me
five hundred
bucks a month
and it's a piece
of shit, he said
and he told me
to put on the spare
but I couldn't
because the spare tire,
was missing too.
and then he cried
a little
and I told him I'd
sell him a used tire
for fifteen bucks.

he didn't have fifteen bucks.

I'm working two jobs, he said,
I'm working two jobs just
to pay six hundred bucks
a month for this piece of shit

and I knew what happened.

I knew he bought that van
from one of those lots on
the side of the road,
one of those lots that
sells to anybody and
the cars are always
crap and the payments
are mostly interest
and there is never
any recourse because
the cars are sold as is.

and I could picture it perfectly.

I bet he and his wife were so
happy the day they
drove that van home,
happy to sign the
paperwork that
would keep them
broke and down
for years to come even
though they thought
they could swing
those payments as long as
nothing else came up,
things like tires and
brakes and missing shocks.
well, my wife drives it
just to the store and
school, put it back on
and he sniffed and I
put that leaky tire
back on and pulled
it out and I gave him
the keys and he gave
the keys to his wife
who appeared out of
nowhere and she was
small and brown and
oriental and probably
Filipino; I used to be in
the navy, a lot of navy
guys married Filipinos
because it was their
first piece of ass
and they fell in love
and they brought those
pieces of ass back home to
meet their parents
and make babies,
and just like that

he was gone.

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