Clean Scum

It’s amazing

How many

Times I’ve

Sought just

Peace and

Refreshment

At a diner or

Bar, only to

Have Within

Seconds

Of being seated

Some troll

With a mop

Or Spray bottle

Trash my drinking

solace or dining

experience by 

Spraying deadly

Cleaning chemicals

On a bar that was

Already clean. Just

Now a squat, obese

Creature came up

Behind me at

The Denny’s

Counter and

plopped a mop

in a bucket 

Filled to the brim

With Amonia and

Who knows what

Else, creating a toxic

Cloud that within

Seconds scalded my

Throat so badly that

I got up and seated

Myself by the old

Fart who amused

Himself by calling

The hapless young

Waitress honey,

Sweetheart, dear,

Etc. then chortling

About it throughout

The course of my

Brief meal and scalding

My soul in the process.

Toxic clouds of unnecessary

Cleaning agents and loads

Of dumb rude retired

Boomers everywhere.

Leave the counters

And floors be, scrub

Slaves, or at

Least don’t sanitize

Them every five

Minutes for me.

I recall

Reading about

American tourists

In Henry Miller’s

Day leaving French

Restaurants aghast

That the French had

A few other things to

Do with their lives

Beside scrubbing

Everything in sight

Constantly, as though

Americans could

Ever clean up the mess

They’ve made of

Nearly every pure

And perfect thing.

— Fyodor Bukowski

 

 

 

The Death of Joe’s Auto Repair (and Maybe America too)

Joe ran a two-man auto repair shop.

It was retro-Americana all the way,

with 1950’s style pin-up girls sporting

dimples and curves on the calendars

and a wall sign that proclaimed: “Helen

Waite is our Credit Manager. If you

want credit, go to Hel en Waite.”

But if you were a decent sort, and

you needed it badly enough, Joe

would let you pay next payday, if

you at least had the collateral of a

hearty handshake. And if he figured

you were a really good guy or gal,

he or his fellow mechanic Nick

would pour you shot when your

car was done, and it was always done

right. At 56, Joe worker harder and

better than any two corporate mechanics

half his age. One night, over shots

strong enough to dissolve alien rust, Joe

told me about how he lowered his

cholesterol, but the next day I brought

him a bottle of low dose aspirin, the

kind with the heart on the bottle, just

in case. He laughed and said thanks.

Then several days later, I heard that

he’d died in his sleep after putting in

a full day, right alongside his mechanic,

like he always did. And I have to see it

as one more sign, that the America

I knew is just about dead. And if you

think a big corporate auto dealer’s

service station is an improvement

over places like Joe’s, or if you

believe a country can be great

without guys like him, then I don’t

have much to say to you–except

maybe “Go to Hel en Waite.”