"Precious Moments"

by Jeph Johnson

February 6th



It's supposed to be

Below freezing

After midnight  

In Portland, Oregon

And I've the graveyard shift


Who else has the privilege  

Of getting out of bed

In about an hour

To go patrol a

Cold cement

Twelve story

Parking garage

In the dead of night

Walking with a limp that won't improve? 

I've no way to jump for joy 

Or kick a can 

Even if I wanted to 

For "chronic pain" prevails 

No sunlight 

As I scoop up the 

Human feces and heroin needles

Waking transients sound asleep in the elevator 

Crossing my fingers they've a heart beat 

Like Gretzky into the goal 

I score 

Into the dustpan cigarette butt hat tricks on every floor 

The ones languid lawyers leave behind 

Every level, four or five feet from the ashtray 

I kick out kids riding their eight mile high 

Who tote skateboards as weapons and taunt me 

Thankfully it's Monday because 

Only on Sunday 

Do I encounter 

Partying pretty boys vomit 

In those same ashtrays 

The attorneys refuse to use 

And they sign their urine signatures along the walls 

To notarize it 

And people wonder why I lay in bed all day

Surrounded by my warm electric blanket

In between these precious moments  

Longing for (at least) companionship?

If it weren't for that 

I'd agree 

All these people have it worse off


Author's Notes/Comments: 


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Incompl's picture

I could smell this place.

I could smell this place. Bravo. 

Let your teeth show

allets's picture

Interesting Portrait

I like character studies - parking garages must be really dirty spaces - slc