May 19, 2023
This Is What Work Is
By Peycho Kanev
I have to get up every morning at five to
wash my face and drink my coffee black as
the last pieces of the passing night.
The first cigarette of the day feels exactly like
the glow of a miniature sun shrouded in
clouds and promises of drudgery and laughter.
Outside, the street lights flicker and bite
the wetness of the milky white morning fog.
Gloves, a hammer, screwdrivers, pliers and
a map of the city in the backpack on my back,
just like a turtle, prepared to face the new day
and tens of thousands more to come.
The streets are still dusky, the sky above
stretches like a sickle, preparing to let through
the first rays of the sun and loud morning
air envelops the plain trees and the bushes.
And there is the bridge connecting the land
to eternity, where the punch clocks are useless
and all supervisors burn in hell like fish in
a frying pan and we do nothing all day long.
In the distance I see the enormous gray building
full of green trucks and this is the place where
I go everyday from 8 to 6, this is my purgatory
and yes, I have my Ortiz, my Mexican Vergil;
together we descent in the intestines of the city,
full of sweat and agony and dead dreams.
At the end of the day when the city is covered
in darkness and fatigue has settled in our bodies
like a parasite, we get into our old cars and
go home, where I open a bottle of beer and
I try to remember who I am and what I’m doing
in this place, surrounded by silence and books.
And the life stood still, death came to take
my measurements but then life continued slowly
and I thought: It could’ve been worse. I could’ve
been MFA student, studying creative writing.
Ah, at last, the first laughter for the day. Better
late than never.
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