The Nicknames

Five-thirty AM, a couple of days after Christmas. 
The street is grinding awake again as always,
as it did every day before the holiday pause.

Across from us the neighbor we call
“Jeep Lady” (to distinguish her
from “Escalady”) is trying to figure out

how best to pull her Grand Cherokee 
out of its tight spot into the road.
Her wheels grumble in the gravel

left by the sanders and salters
as she twists them back and forth
until she can pull out and drive away.

The black Escalade won’t be moving 
until later on when “Escalady” comes out
to take her baby to daycare before work.

Next door the cabbie on the first floor
gets his motor running long before he leaves
for the long day ahead. We don’t have

a nickname for him yet. They just moved in
in early December and there’s been no storm
thick enough for the bonding ritual

of pissing and moaning to each other
while shoveling out
our driveways. 

The junkie who lives upstairs from us
(who we unaffectionately call “Shithead”)
has already gone and come back from the clinic

as he does every day before dawn. His rotten 
Hyundai makes a sound when it turns over
like the slide whistle from a circus act. 

Here I am, at work before any of them,
my old but solid Subaru cold in the driveway,
my love’s Beetle parked until its repair appointment

next Monday. And nothing is moving here
but my fingers. What do the neighbors
call me? A bum? A writer? How would they know?

That fat guy with the fallow container garden along the fence
and the frozen solid compost tumbler?
I doubt that they think much of me at all,

as I don’t think much of me — one of those
who sits and observes and then talks about
sitting and observing and doing it again tomorrow.

New Year’s Day soon. 2023 looming ahead.
Gotta feeling ’23 is gonna be the same year
as ’22. It’s almost like the Who said years ago

in that obscure song from “Tommy”
except in the song they expected a good year,
and I’m not expecting anything anymore.

Not a nickname from a stranger.
Not a change in the view from this couch.
Not a chance in hell of avoiding a storm.

About Tony Brown

A poet with a history in slam, lots of publications; my personal poetry and a little bit of daily life and opinions. Read the page called "About..." for the details. View all posts by Tony Brown

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