Thursday, February 21, 2013

365 Jobs: Handyman Sketches: Somber Couple, No Choice

Don't Blame Me, I'm Just Here to Fix the Garbage Disposal: Part Six

Somber Couple

Somber couple
speaking in whispers,
thick carpet with a
grand piano plus
hulking Hammond organ,
needlepoints on walls,
hushed, immaculate, church-like,
the kind of place where
I would not smile and
dare not fart.
I'm so wrong.
Later, working outside,
from within I hear rocking,
booming, booty-shaking

No Choice: Sunday, July 3, Holiday Weekend

It's hot.
The whole world is at play.
Mostly I enjoy this gig but
must I work today?
Yes — no choice — to repair
leaks from a sink plus a loo that won't flush
for the young man
who follows me
with a toilet brush.
His wife watches,
freckled and frowning,
checking the to-do list
like deadly accounting.

He's puckered, mustached,
on his knees as he scrubs.
Must he clean after me
so soon and so much?
As if reading my mind,
he explains with a shrug:
"I'm sorry, you see, but
we're hopelessly Dutch."

Note: 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 Six of a series.


  1. Hi Joe,
    I never was much of "poem" reader but I am enjoying this series of posts.

  2. Hi Ralph. I never was much of a "poem" writer, either, at least not in a serious way — but I like to play with them, to sketch. I'm glad you enjoy them.