Coffee, Donuts, and Cigarettes

I remember the days of building and harsh slave labor:
when my days started at six
in the morning;
this is when the moon laughs at hideous men with leather faces
who drive dirty trucks with one ripped up bench seat,
the bankers
the judges
the unqualified tenures with ugly cars and overpriced condos
dream of nothing that is real or interesting.
First, I stopped for coffee and donuts,
then a pack of Marlboro reds in a box, (never soft pack).
I remember the midnight rain,
the sound of God’s relentless tears as they
showered the city,
giving me hope for a day with my out-of-tune piano,
maybe a six-pack (of something imported)
or the crazy myth of daytime sex with your kind and willing wife.
At first, those nights brought the rarest of feelings of
and solace,
then always another six-pack due to the terrible misconception
of a fictitious tomorrow;
a day without
the digging
the hauling
the swinging
the pounding of 16 penny nails and old slabs of concrete.
And I remember the following mornings,
when the asphalt would
okay for us to slave and build and I promised myself
a good night’s sleep instead of another hangover.
I remember those very afternoons when I couldn’t
recall such futile promises,
such absurdity,
such cowardice thoughts, and ideas.
(Now the only place I go at 6 am is the clinic or the lab
to give blood due to a disease I contracted while my tools
turned to rust and yellow pieces of overdue paper).
And in the mornings when I see the dirty trucks and leather
faces, those soldiers of harsh labor
eating donuts
smoking packs of Marlboro reds,
I always give a wave and then kindly tip my hat,
and sometimes I even smile…

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