Monday, January 31, 2011

My Next Door Neighbors

My next door neighbors
Had a family row last night
Very late in the evening
Way past my bedtime
As I was tossing and turning
Looking for the sweet spot
On my pillow
Hoping to fall back to sleep again
Before the row got any louder
And woke me up for good
I needed to sleep
Since tomorrow is another work day
And I’ve already been warned
About being late and tardy
Causing my boss to get up
On his high horse
To issues warnings about
This rule and that regulation
And about how I should be grateful
To even have a job at my age
Two years from formal retirement
And I know he is right
Getting up in the morning
Is hard work for me these days
And rushing off to work
To catch the 59 bus
And the Market-Frankford line
To Center City
Before the Big Ben clock
In the City Hall tower
Can strike
The hour of nine
Just so that I can get my name
On the sign in sheet in time
Just so I can get my name
On the sign in sheet in time
For I must get my name
On the sign in sheet in time
Or face the bloody consequences
And another fresh helping of dire warnings
But the row next door
Just kept on getting louder
And more menacing
With furniture being thrown
And smashing against the wall
Accompanied by threats to do bodily harm
To this one and that
With lots of cursing and swearing
And name calling of all kinds
Mean nasty words
Coated in bile
Aimed to hurt and wound
And to tear the heart out of the other
“Its 3:30 a.m. in the morning you crazy bastard!”
“You come barging in here at 3:30 a.m. in the morning
Stinking drunk and you expect me
To make you breakfast?”
Not me, I said sleepily to myself
No, I wouldn’t expect
That much of a favor
No, not at 3:30 a.m.
Well, no need to consult the alarm clock
On the night table
Next to my bed
I said to myself
As the cursing and loud screaming
And smashing of furniture
Continued next door
Either I get up and call the police
Or I roll over
And try to catch
Another 40 winks
No need to consult the alarm clock
To figure out what time it was
I told myself
Drifting off back to sleep
It’s 3:30 a.m. in the morning
And I am slowly drifting off
Back to sleep.

Philadelphia, Pa., 2011

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