Tag Archives: work

The Crackdown

Work, bus, drugs, arrests, drink, and
and no good music anywhere.

And the young male press
says the crackdown on us is coming.

I say we’ll crack ourselves
before they ever get here
if we are not too careful.
They step over us
to avoid their mother’s backs.

Don’t walk alone
they shake their heads
they say say say
all sorts of stupid things,
but they do not say
how to get cabs with money
that stays in the rich man’s pocket.

We each walk alone
Needs must for the lazy (they say say say)
because the late shift pays more.

We rest at last in rooms
behind the hardware store
through the alley
where our children sleep
in streetlight light
that shines
through thin curtains.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Out of the Fog

Out of the fog
the soft sound of
cottonwood leaves clicking
as the drops fall from
one leaf to another
down time
to the blurred
by the door of the hotel
swinging open.

The smell of eggs
in chafing dishes
and the mixture
of morning colognes.

I want to go back
to the fog outside
the long walk here
and find the wet bark
and soft click of leaves.

Copyright Kay Winter

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Peace of Mind

The day my peace of mind
was a no show
I was grocery shopping
at the office
in the dark
before I woke up
and a phone
(My phone? Where’s my goddamn phone?)
was ringing
and I was rushing
with an empty cart
down the cube aisle
to the checkout
and I had forgotten the milk
forgotten the birthday card
for Saturday (shit!)
and forgotten the lentils and the yogurt
and the broccoli and oranges
and so all I’d eat this week
was coffee, gum and a Hershey bar
and that wouldn’t be enough.
My answers never were,
nothing ever was,
not with this asshole.
My boss at the register
shouting at me:
“Cash or credit?
Cash or credit, lady?”
But I had no money,
not even for the gum
and he wouldn’t let me finish
saying that the reason,
the real reason
was that I was sweating
and it had started to snow
and the bus driver asked me
for directions downtown
but my god
I didn’t recognize the streets
I mean at all.
My peace of mind called
from a cab in crosstown traffic
“There’s construction everywhere,”
it said and I said
“I don’t even have a goddamn piece of gum!
And I’ll be a little late,
really late,
days late
joining the call
and they’ll just have to understand
that the reason, the real reason,
is that some days just fender bender.”
And my peace of mind said
“You think you got problems, honey?”
and I said, “I do, I most certainly do!
Can’t you hear the alarm the alarm the alarm!”

– Copyright Kay Winter

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OctPoWriMo Poem 9 – What They Took

Her first job after babysitting
Was cleaning rooms at the roadside motel
At the edge of town

The rooms smelled like the sweat of truckers
And road crew
And stale beer and burgers fried in the kitchenette

A high school portrait of a sweetheart
A tattered picture of a boy with a bat
Last month’s Playboy

She learned about men
By what they took
And what they left behind

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