Drew Pisarra, 4/1/2013
Current Occupation: Website Director
Former Occupation: Theater Critic
Contact Information: Before retiring his ventriloquist act, Drew previously worked as a magician’s assistant, an eye clinic receptionist, and a public library page. Writing is a preoccupation.
The Merchant of Four Seasons
Really who knows exactly where to start
when telling a story that’s this extreme,
of a man who lives in a coffee cart
like a mobile home that’s fueled by caffeine.
Ambitious if broke, he fills his orders —
an apple turnover, a coffee with cream —
then pays his rent in dollars and quarters
to brothers who work at the fruit stand nearby.
Come night, he’ll wolf down the day’s leftovers
and dream in his sugar high, high as the sky,
of profits his tip jar has yet to supply.
I used to take naps in bathroom stalls.
I’d pull my pants and underwear
Down around my ankles for effect
And then I’d close my eyes
And lay my head against a dividing wall
To dream of my imagined inheritance.
Nowadays, I’m much too paranoid
For those kind of transgressions.
Someone told me I snored.
Plus there was that incident
I awoke to the sound of someone
Whacking off on the other side.
I started drinking coffee after that.
Caffeinated, I came to realize
That the restrooms in my office
Building weren’t that clean,
Weren’t clean enough for my siestas.
The stink of urine pervades when
Some men miss the pot and others
Refuse to flush because
They’re being ecological.
(There’s a strange subculture
of Green Party pissers who are
Conserving the planet’s water
One resisted flush at a time.)
And with all due respect to the
Four-eyed, hair-plugged executives
And their lip-glossed male assistants
Who glance if not stare unabashedly
Down to the side when taking a leak
Not because they’re gay necessarily
But because they’re concerned with size,
With all due respect to these corporate
Kingpins and queens, the pissoirs
Are more than repositories of piss.
They’re egalitarian dumping grounds,
The warehouses of water closets,
The equalizer between cocksure management
And temporary support staff,
I admit that, as to myself,
Once I’ve passed
The polished wingtips,
The designer sneakers and
The flip flops with their naked toes
Visible beneath the partial doors,
The act—indeed the art—of taking a dump
There’s something about
The kerplop that’s unseemly.
If I’m alone
I’ll force it all out in a mad rush but
In the company of others,
Amid the sounds of
And rustling newspapers,
I try to parcel out each piece of shit
With a prayer that it makes
No more noise than
a penny in a fountain.
How I wish this floor had a
Unisex bathroom for the handicapped
To which I might limp or hobble.
I think of the solitary elevator rides and
The abandoned hallways where
I’ve let farts rip indiscriminately.
I’m a private type,
too private for a public toilet,
and not man enough for the men’s room.
Eight Hours Are Not a Day
It’s time to sing about work:
Fa-la-la. Time to sing about Monday
through Friday and the 9 to 5, time
to sing about filing and faxes and phones,
time to whistle in even a dwarfish way
even as your friend in the neighboring
cubicle tells you to shut up then calls
security to have you taken away. Okay.
It’s time to find a workaday rhythm,
time to tap into that inner song,
to find the motivating melody unique
to sitting in a chair all the livelong
day, an ergonomic chair designed to guard
your body from the wear and tear.
It’s time to celebrate that in key.
Fa-la-la-la-la-la-la. That’s so off-key.
Birthdays and business calls aside,
the offices of America are respectfully
hushed. Listen closely. Listen hard.
Listen to the quiet clack of the keyboards,
the hum of the fluorescents overhead,
the quiet crunch of metal folding in
upon itself as a stapler does its job.
Collapse. Open your soda in silence. Psst.
Listen further. Listen deeply.
Don your Chinese, cushioned headphones
and hear the tinny sound of music that’s
hi-NRG, enter a discotech inside your head,
a disco designed for drones who now can
bop back and forth to tiny sound waves
that might be signals of distress. Or not.