work shorts

1. I’ve Never Known Anyone

she walked onto the weigh-bridge carrying four black rubbish bags
and I said it’s cheaper if I weigh you, stay there
but you have to make the sound of a car.
and she did, and the noise she made was like a bath toy,
and I thought: what would I have made? and I did
my noise, after she had paid and gone away
and it sounded like a mis-idling truck,
and the psychological correspondence will not be lost
on some. she was a good sport, to make her car sound
on the wide floating steel plate, two plastic garbage bags
in each of her hands, and I loved her
that moment, English Jane, child of engines,
monarchy, and rain; loved all of us born into naked children
in the waters of a world un-peeling before us, the unknown
design of Space, believing just enough
to keep from sinking. I’ve never known anyone, less
convinced that what they think is all
there
is.

2. Avoiding Outlines

during the morning bin run
where I drive the urban sanitation
contract for the council, I found, in one
larger bag, a dozen empty tobacco packets
with enough for ten thin smokes.
when I arrived back at the depot
I emptied the crumbs into a single pouch
for some of the guys at work
who are always scrounging and re-rolling butts
during the last days of the pay period.
I hadn’t handled any tobacco for 8 & 1/2 years,
and I didn’t want to put it in my pocket, or even hold it
in any way in which it could look like mine
so I carried it to the smoko room by the corner,
by a thumb unconcerned and a finger disassociated
because I didn’t want to give Time any ideas,
didn’t want to put into his hand the crayons
of my living hours, presumed it, like holding a bag
of dog turds, something you had to carry but didn’t
express any indication it was going to reappear
as a regular set of actions through the telltale
templates of biological geometry.

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