We're going to the county fair today to see the Lippizzaner Stallions perform. Kathleen is a great horse fancier.
You saw my carnival poem; below a poem by Kathleen about a county fair back in New York:
This is no country for old men--
nor for an old woman with dusty feet
slumped in the illusory shade of the beer tent.
Only the young move harmless
through this blaring heat,
a tawdry hell of lights and screams;
lowing of dumb animals;
stench of dung and frying dough.
Survivor in my own bleak afterlife,
I rub my head and think of brittle
vertebrae and shearing steel,
then see you looming through the haze,
giant with a gentle face, come to lift
my heart above the summer twilight
that I might feast among the stars
and have you lick them from my tongue.
--Kathleen M. Chaffin
Since Kathleen became disenchanted with the litternet she doesn't write anymore. And who can blame her?
I can. because it's a terrible waste of talent, so any so inclined should write her at email@example.com to encourage her to compose before she decomposes.
She could write about her new slave job at Safeway--all the politics of white trash trying to emulate the cookie-cutter corporate vision.
I think one of the first if not the first poem I published on the Internet was about being a dishwasher, another slave job. You want to see it? Hell, it's Poetry Thursday, why not?!
That Dishwasher Smell
I opened my dishwasher and smelled
the sterile-sweet smell of superheated detergent
and plastic made aromatic by high temperatures
that makes me hand-rinse my glasses before I drink
and takes me back to washing dishes
at a Mexican restaurant for $1.10 an hour,
where I scraped burned beans three inches thick
from the bottom of huge, two-handled pots.
The beans, red-skinned, white-pulped,
smelled like wet cardboard and burnt toast
when I dipped my hands in their pebbly mush
like the bowl of guts you feel on Halloween.
When I moved up to sprayer
I had to sort bus trays that reeked
of blue cheese and cigarette butts
and whiskey and wet napkins,
grease and Maraschino cherries--
almost as bad as the dishwasher smell.
I teased their garbage out
before I doused the dishes
with my high pressure nozzle,
then stacked them in the rack
that slid into the huge stainless box
where they were purified by the smell
of superheated detergent and hot rubber again.
After the last dish dried I'd mop the dregs
down the sloping concrete floor to the central drain
where lettuce scraps, fish bones,
white grease and hairs collected,
then I'd scoop it out by hand and replace the grate.
For all the garbage I handled,
it was the dishwasher smell
I could never get out of my hands,
ground in like rodeo dirt.
(published in Real Poetik)
0.5 kilorats and holding,
Thine in Truth and Art,