Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Walking from the front blast doors to my lightly charred tank

Wild foxes, stray dogs, feral cats, hyper-aggressive alpha rats, an armadillo or two,
(Most of them possibly rabid or getting there)
All vying for turf
Inside, outside, all around the abandoned house across the street.

My wife says it's for sale.
I tell her it's abandoned. Do you see a for sale sign?
She gets real silent and tense.
Several other abandoned houses have been torched in this development.
I make a point of reminding her of all that, but she doesn't take the bait.
Just expresses baseless optimism
That things must be on the upturn,
'Cause of some numbers going up and down on the morning Wall Street report,
And, you know,
No more panhandlers in our neck of the burbs.

I kind of want to argue,
Almost tell her that most of those homeless guys got executed by skinheads,
The rest are in some cop-dungeon,
No phone call, no lawyer, no work history, no health care, no money, no freedom, no hope.
But she plants herself with a puzzle of some Norman Rockwell bullshit spread out across the kitchen table,
And I'm afflicted with a flare-up of mercy.

I let it go.
It's just as well,
Since some random militia kids torched our garage last weekend,
But it wasn't so bad.
I put down a couple.
Young pale muscle dudes
All tatted up with skulls and AK-47s and grotesque stripper angels.
I guess they should've saved the money they spent on ink
And invested in a higher grade of body armor.

Nightmares, you ask?
But I am a little worried about the rest of their crew wantin' some more.

All right, okay!
 I admit it: I kinda hope the rest of the militia dudes return,
Maybe bring some of those upstanding young skinheads as well,
'Cause lately
I've been in a Final Boss Battle state of mind.
I'm always happy to be someone's ultimate enemy.
Just ask Claire, when she finishes pushin' the puzzle pieces around,
Or I could give you my son's email.

Or we could let it drop.
I need to finish shaving,
Get my uniform on,
Get over to my security gig at City Hall.

And it's almost always when I'm clipping on my ID badge,
I have the same kinda thought every morning:
 I think just about everyone in my world is at the breaking point,
Friend, foe, animal.
Gives a little jolt,
When taking out the trash,
Checking the mail,
Walking from the front blast doors to my lightly charred tank,
'Cause I sure don't want to have to kill some small animal.
I'm a big softie when it comes to little animals.
Seeing those armadillos, especially-don't most of 'em get splattered on the highways?
Dogs, cats, foxes, I can take 'em or leave 'em.
But rats . . . I've always admired rats.

I've always hated how people slander rats.
Calling a human a rat is an insult.
You're calling them a traitor, a squealer, someone who cannot be trusted.
But I think it's the rats
Who are degraded
By the comparison.
I never knew a rat that gave up anything to anyone.
Used to fantasize about becoming a rat and living underground as a boy.
I'd be a big one, fearsome, the kind that could take down a mastiff.

But now-
Rabies really freaks me out.

Guess I'm getting eaten up with bourgeois values.
Must be all this easy living.
-August 2014
William D. Tucker 
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