The Rent

dilapidated floorboards covered in snow

The Rent

John Grey

I’m still vinyl.
The needle hums.
The adagio – falling bricks –
tossed pillows – a pile of mulch.

Bicycle tires keep deflating,
chain-smoke billows from the chimney,
branches from a dead oak
slam against the window,
clothes find the one place in my room
where it’s impossible to retrieve them.

Flowers not yet buds,
(just melodies drawing me back).
Forgive my degrading tendencies.
from now, scrim floats
across the bed at night, then never again.

I am listening to Orff.
I imagine him trapped in his own music.
I tried to write a cantata
But nothing ever came together
like this wood floors' grainy seams.

Meanwhile, in familiar places, sprout mushrooms,
like all things they came into their time that’s all –
my landlord intervenes with trick language regarding rent
and the white light of rising strings stuck on repeat.

I tell him
the soles of my shoes
are useless on the surface of water
but I’d like his permission to try.
He reaches out to save me from drowning,
though it’s my wallet he grabs
and it’s as empty as my curses at the world.

I, of course, am expecting a windfall any day now.
With any luck, it will spread across his lawn.
That will buy me months in his crummy two by four.

There was a man once who remarked
how petals never fell through that hole in the roof.
But rain did.
Likewise the crumbling chimney.
I revert to silence only to shout again
while he turns red and white as a pizza place table cloth.

Crescendo - I fill a vase for flowers.
Tomorrow, it’ll be a chainsaw.
The next, sledgehammers.
The Rent

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