BALLAD OF AN
The alarm calls me to attention.
My aching back and creaking knees
could use an oil change and tune-up.
Like Mick said/“What a drag it is getting old.”
I drag my heels to the shower/drift to
the kitchen for coffee/and tumble into
one unwashed customer service costume or
another. The car I purchased used—to get from
point A to point B—has bronchitis/
coughing and hacking as the engine turns.
commuting to the menial Bay Bridge
job where I make just enough not to qualify for
aid/I see in the rear-view that my hair and life
show signs of grey/my story being edited so
many times in my teens and twenties it’s now
unrecognizable in my thirties.
A happy ending isn’t necessarily unattainable/
it just may take a few more rewrites.
Or another editor.
Even successful friends have found their plans to
go awry along the way/blueprints and homework
can only account for so much.
parking lot I kill the engine/hoping
that it will start again when my shift ends/watching the
litter/the trash skip across the gravel/and dial in to my
daily internal conference/debating whether or not to
call in sick.
I’d rather spend a day with no pay than a day with no soul.
Alex has toiled away in the relative obscurity of minimum-wage jobs, underground comics, and children's books since 2009. He prefers to share the wounds life inflicts, scabs and all, because he can't stand stories that are Photoshopped and airbrushed.