working men

the workmen are here
to replace my air conditioning unit
and as usual I was sleeping
when they came, having
fallen asleep at 4:22 am
though this was a scheduled job
and I knew they were arriving
in the morning, and they came
at 9:15, right on time
for a normal daytime job
like real people do, and these
two big dudes had to carry
this very heavy outdoor compressor
through my maze of an apartment
with my cat trying to run
under their feet and me
– in my red nightshirt with the toothpaste
stains on the front; though I put a
robe on, it disguised nothing –
I wasn’t much help at all.

and ever since
I got that giant oil portrait of myself, anyone
who goes upstairs
in my place will see me naked
whether they like it or not
and I guess
I could have hidden it
in the closet but I’m
really lazy and I really wish I
could go back to sleep
right now
or that I had gone
to bed earlier last night so
I would feel less like I’m
in a coma and at some
point before they’re done I need
to go to the bank
to get the cash
in order to receive a discount by
paying under the table but
I watch them toting
equipment around
and the boss guy is
pretty nice but
I feel ashamed of how very messy
everything is and the fact that
I’m even thinking
about whether they are getting dirt
on my pile of mostly clean clothes
that lives by the bed and
how I should have
moved them before
this whole thing started, and also
how I’m pretty much useless
in this world of men
who sweat and grunt and
do things that make a tangible
difference to someone
while I’m just
sitting on the couch
feeling like death,
writing a poem
to keep myself awake.

I’m debating
having some coffee
before I go to the bank but I still
have hopes that I can maybe
go back to sleep after they finish
and I pay them and tip them
and go to their next job while I
go back to my sedentary life
of leisure and casual artistic
nakedness and I wouldn’t
change places with them
for the world but still
I feel guilty.

Published by

R. Brookes McKenzie

what fresh hell is this

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