Friday, May 20, 2005

Ode to My Keys

When I found out about the crack dealers
Living in the house across the street
And the brisk business they were doing
I called my landlady to complain. She said, "Oh,"
in her sweet old lady voice. "We've had problems
With that before." I said indignantly,
"They harassed my roommate
As she was walking home!" "Ok, well," she said,
"Just make sure not to call the police
To complain." She said
One of the neighbors
Had done that and then
One of the crack dealers
Confronted him on the street and repeated
The same words he'd used in his call.
So she thought they had contacts
In the police station. Then the crack dealers
Called the neighbor bad names when they saw him
On the street. Until he had to move away. "So,"
said my landlady, "If you want to complain
Let me know and I'll call for you.
I'll use an unmarked pay phone."

I thought that was pretty rotten
That she never warned me before I moved in.
I'd asked about the safety!
All my friends agreed with me.
They were very indignant, too.
What a naughty landlady she was!
Our apartment door has a lock on it.
And then, the entryway door we share with next door
Has a lock too. Outside that door there's a steel cage
And you can lock that too.
None of the locks are that impressive.
I bet you could break them with a big hammer.
But I guess the fact that there's three of them in a row
Would discourage people.

Our apartment in Moscow
Had only one lock, but it was a big one,
Huge steel bars inside a steel door.
That door was designed so you could shoot it
With a machine gun
And you still couldn't get in.
There were all these dangerous people everywhere.
One businessman got shot in the Mayakovskaya metro
And you could see the bullets in the walls the next day.
Our door in that apartment was so good
Because there were a lot of Mafia people in the building.
The apartment building knew what its clients wanted.

All these naughty people in the world!
And what's more
They know that they're doing the wrong thing.
Me, sometimes I know I'm doing the wrong thing
But it's not as wrong as the things THEY do.
Although, where is the measuring stick that lets me know?
It would be a funny kind of measuring stick
And not, I think, very precise.

Sometimes I think I'd like to move far away
To a place without any other people.
I could run through the trees all day
And smell the flowers.
Insects jumping in the grass
Would devour each other horrifically
But it wouldn't be any of my business.
Not the way it is with people.

I don't enjoy locking doors.
I'd like to give a key to all my friends
So if they ever needed anything
They could come and get it. Or, maybe
Just stop and take a shower
If they happened to be playing frisbee
in Meridian Hill Park. Just think of my useful apartment
Sitting empty all day! Except
Sometimes they might come to visit
When I wanted to be alone. Perhaps
That would be inconvenient. Also, perhaps
I'd be writing in my journal, and leave it open on the table
And then they'd read all of my secret thoughts.

I can see that there are many reasons why
I carry around this heavy keychain.
It looks like a sodden, bedraggled sea anenome
Washed up, green and sandy, from the high tide.
When I run it jingles in my jacket pocket.
Ja jing cling cling! Ka ka ko king!


Post a Comment

<< Home