Tuesday, July 13th, 2010...12:03 pm

dennis leroy kangalee | pay stubs & sugar

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Pay stubs & Sugar

(a poem while you were asleep)

I made my way down six flights & knocked on the landlord’s door & I asked if I could borrow some sugar
he said for what?
I said “Oh, er – forget it. Ha-ha…”
And crawled back into my bed
Dreaming of a way
To knock that tar & sand-filled cavity
Out of my mouth.
I made another cup of tea and just looked at it…

I dropped the piece of gum
I had stuck
in the ashtray
Into the cup

If you were here
I would have asked you for your finger

At work
I ate someone else’s leftover lunch
and half a cupcake
that was stuffed into the fridge
all I really needed
was a bag of nuts or
some kale
or corn
or candy
to get me through the next day
after noon
I wondered if we’d get our paychecks
Because of the holiday coming up
I looked around
And no one seemed curious
Not just about their pay –
About anything.
Then we got an email from the boss
Saying
How sorry he was about car wrecks & balloons bursting
& crude crushing
the life of the ocean
but he’d been to the far corners
of the world
and he’d seen
smiles and laughter
that he’d never seen before,
he’d seen a boy without a leg
limping to the beat of Joy
& found those people strong
& endurable
& it made him cry (and he’d never cry before)
so we should not worry about Louisiana
or the economy
or anything outside of our control
(or this office)
because it would all sort itself out.
He said to bury ourselves in our work
& we’d feel better

well I’d never been to the four corners
of the world
but I had been to welfare
and I had been to unemployment
and I had been to the pound
but I knew there was no way
I could bury myself in anything
If my stomach was growling
The acid howling
My eyes bowing
To anything big or bright

So it didn’t take me too long
To be exiled
If I had been this low after two days of not eating,
There was no way a child
With no legs
Starving
In a colonial era
Hut
In between
A Hilton
Or a soccer game
Would be smiling
And if he was
It would
Not be
Because he was
Happy
But
Because
He was
Trying to
Keep
His teeth
From falling
Out.

We got our checks the next day
I asked the boss
What about our pay-stubs
He said “For what?”

But I knew I would not need the pay-stubs
If I only had your finger.

2 Comments

  • Marlon Bronsmer
    July 14th, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    A fine piece.
    Love the coda and that last two stanzas. Will check out your site.

  • Marlon, thanks for your kind words and support. I am glad you like the piece. Its one of my personal favorites. …and pardon my delay in getting back to you over 6 months later –! it’s just that I seldom visit my own profile on the Network.

    Peace & blessings,
    Leroy

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