Don't Blame Me, I'm Just Here to Fix the Garbage Disposal: Part Ten
An American Dream: Thursday, May 14, 1987
Replace another dishwasher. Hot day again.
Carrying out the old one I heave it up
to the dumpster — by myself —
and feel a POP
in my spine.
Why do I lift dishwashers?
Ice strapped to my back,
I squat stiffly with pangs
as I tuck in my five-year-old. He says,
“I don’t like to go to bed because sometimes I have dreams.”
“Everybody dreams," I say. "Every night.”
He: “Once I had a bad dream. It was called The American Dream.”
Me: “Oh really? What was it about?”
He: “It was at the beach. There
were all these bright color rocks.
When you look closely at them, you can see little aminals."
(That's what he calls them: aminals.)
"A big wave came.
It was so big, it followed us home.
It went up one side of a hill and down
the other side into another ocean.”
Me: “Why was that called The American Dream?”
He: “I don’t know. That’s what it said it was in the dream.”
I have a dream, many nights, which I don’t tell my son:
I’m walking naked down a crowded sidewalk.
Nobody notices. Nobody cares.
That’s the writer’s bad dream. It comes true.
We share love, myself and this boy.
That’s why I lift dishwashers.
We dream. Sometimes badly. But we dream.
Among my contracting jobs, for many years I've served as the on-call
handyman for a group of townhouse-style apartments — or rental units —
or whatever one should call an enclosed square of two-story dwellings in
a subdivision of Sunnyvale, California. It's steady money. As a minor
league writer, I need that.
I tried to summarize the experience in
prose, but verse seems to work best. Most of the events took place in
the 1980s though a few are more recent. This is Part Ten of a series.