The Culture of Restlessness
 
I woke up at two a.m,
the fat in my ass and legs sweating
and I flopped around on the mattress
trying to find comfort and calm
and even the other side of the pillow
offered no tender mercies
 
so I got out of bed,
left my wife
sleeping thin
and cool
and easy
 
I stumbled down the hall,
into the living room
and I turned on the TV
 
I always turn on the TV
 
and I sat there
clutching the remote
in my sweaty and
callused hand and
I belched several
times to the
tune of light beer
and onions
and maybe nachos
 
I flipped through the stations
 
Wayne's World Two
 
Sports Center
 
infomercials full of has-been actresses
applying makeup to nearly pretty women
 
I went into the kitchen,
thought about making coffee
but instead I ate a Pop Tart
 
I turned off the TV
and tried to go back to sleep
 
but obviously
 
I couldn't.
 
*********************



Weariness is Free
                                 
I've been doing this for decades,
waiting on people
fixing cars
 
and in those decades
I've seen the average Joe
disappear and now, people
can either afford
to fix their cars
 
or they can't
 
and those that can't
are stuck driving
wrecks with wheels
and their car problems
are so far advanced
that it takes more
than a tune-up
to get their
engines running smooth
 
and hundreds of dollars
later the engines still
might not run smooth
and the poor person
is never surprised,
 
he expects me
 
or someone like me
 
to take more money anyway
and their eyes have that
weary resigned look
like a boxer who just
got knocked out
 
it's the rich person
who complains
when something goes
wrong, it's the
rich person
who threatens you
with lawyers and
stomps his feet
until he gets his
money back
or his car
fixed for free.

****************


A Hundred Americas
   
you've heard it said that
there are two Americas
 
black and white
 
rich and poor
 
but you know of at least
a hundred Americas
and in your America everyone
knows someone who's lost their job
and mortgaged their house to a slow
and certain death.
 
and you're that someone.
 
you're that someone and
the unemployment checks just stopped
coming because the state figured
six months was enough to get
you back on your feet and you pounded
the pavement looking for work but
in your America you thought you
would stay young forever and
here you are pushing forty
with no college education and no
marketable skill other than selling but
no one is buying in Michigan
so the pavement brought you nothing
except for tired feet and shame
and you must have printed a thousand
resumes only to have them
ignored by eyes younger
than yours and you know you
should have gotten some kind
of education
 
but you thought there would
be time because yours is
an ageless America
and you thought you'd
never grow old
 
so now there is nothing
to do but sit at home
and you hide in shame
while the kids are at
school and you watch
the TV as if it was a
shooting star because
you know the cable will
soon be shut off because
the bills aren't being paid.
 
that last unemployment
check has to go to food
and cheap cans of beer.
 
and you know it won't
be long before the
cable company will
figure out that you're
not a good customer
and sure as death
the cable will be
disconnected leaving
you with white noise
and a longing for
rabbit ears.
 
but you watch it for now.
 
you watch the sports
and news and stock
reports from some
distant America. an
America where money
and companies change
hands in a seemingly
haphazard flow and wars
are waged with dollars
and guns and it all
seems pointless
 
thousands of dollars here.
millions of dollars there.
 
and you wonder why
some of those dollars
can't trickle their
way to you because
the dollars you need
for your mortgage
and groceries and
cable TV and cheap cans of beer
 
wouldn't be pointless at all.



© David LaBounty. Bio: He lives with his wife and two young sons in Royal Oak, Michigan and he has had nearly a hundred poems published in a variety of print and online journals. His novel, The Trinity, has just been released. There is more info at his blog, davidlabounty.blogspot.com.