Poetry: Christopher Titus Save Me!

The following is an embellished account based on a real experience. Inspired by the poem “the 12 hour night” by Charlies Bukowski from his book “what matters most is how well you walk through the fire.”

 

Christopher Titus Save Me!

By Shannon Laws

“…our bodies were worn, our spirits whipped. there was a sense of unreality.”
the 12 hour night, Charles Bukowski

 

I found myself in middle age working the graveyard shift as a deep cleaner at a casino, and somehow there seemed to be no way out.

I was smothered by
Waist-less woman
in high heels
butts in the ashtrays
butts in the seats
baseball hats on empty heads
guts spilling over large buckles
Work boots, flip flops
bring in an endless
amount of pine needles
and waffle-mud cakes
Everything looks too tight
especially the Tuesday Tweakers.

I am drained here
my life is ending
but Christopher Titus is coming
in February. He smiles at me from the poster’s place
on each side of each four-sided pillar and near the door.
“As seen on Comedy Central!” “Get your tickets now!”

Christopher is coming!  His spiky blonde hair and blue eyes hold life.  He is my savior in an ash covered world. As I sweep up pieces of paper, fingernails, toothpicks, squeezed out limes from the casino’s clown colored floor, I imagine sweet Christopher busting through the main entrance on a white steed
shining
he is shining
glowing with a bright future
a future he offers me if only
I wash off my Cinderella ashes
take his hand and leave this place
Oh, how he glows!

He talks to me—
Why are you here? C’mon, you can do better
You’re wiping up blood and vomit from slot machines.  Your new skill is how to reach into the bathroom garbage to avoid a hidden syringe,
-and the SHRIMP on Friday Fish Day! All that half-chewed shrimp clogging up your vacuum!  C’mon!
look at ME
look how happy I am
join me in this happiness

I was so tired, so dazed, my anguished mixed with hopelessness.  I saw myself fifteen years from now, hunched over the sweeper, being called darlin’ and sugar, taking empty glasses once full of spirits, offering clean ashtrays.

I talked sense to my Titan
This isn’t so bad.
I’ve learned much more than biohazard clean up.
I’ve studied this species of human
that gambles.  You can learn a lot from the way they put out their cigarettes. Like footprints in the snow, you know what animal walked by

The Texan—punches the butt straight down, it stands erect
The Cowboy— rolled and smashed, falls to the side
The Camper—sits at the same machine for hours, same butt brand overfills ashtray
The Britney— pink lipstick on the butt, usually a camper
Ladybird— smokes the very thin lady cigarette, flutters around from machine to machine
Still, my Titan smiles

Then one night I stood up for myself and left
My last day is this Friday, I told my shift manager on Thursday.
You found something else?
Yes
yes, I did.
Fresh air and dignity
It pays nothing

On my last day I hand in my badge, I returned my uniforms, left my locker unlocked,
Christopher Titus had come and gone
A new act was plastered on the pillars
I turned and walked away
into the night
and my life was touched by
magic.

and it still
is.

 


Want to learn more about Christopher Titus? Of course, you do.

https://www.christophertitus.com/

Christopher Titus, 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My First Villanelle: Towards Harris

desk wSwq
Found sticky note

But first a note from my desk…

 

This villanelle came to me during my first week at a new job on a cold, dark, foggy February morning.  With steel toe boots on and a budgeted $7 for travel and lunch in my jean pocket, I search for the bus stop on Harris to catch the 401 leaving at 6:30 a.m.  Last year I temped at SEVEN factories, now I walk towards number eight. The fog is another unknown-known waiting for me.

It felt like the ghosts of Fairhaven were dancing with me as I hiked through the fog, perhaps even poking fun at the site of a person up too early, with the weight of the world on her shoulders.  Ghost have no weight.  They do not need bus tickets, boots or money. Lazy-ass ghosts.

The overwhelming sense that I was NOT alone in that fog bank, spurred an “Our Father” out of me… and now I have a poem.

This is my first villanelle.  Think I’m gonna write another.

Thanks for your visit with me as I travel the crust of the orb,
~SPL

 


ghost o1_500Towards Harris

by Shannon Laws

One block before the dawn, heaven hides the fright
Ghosts match-step with me in curbside play
My breath sends a prayer into the air

I stride into Fairhaven’s ambered light
Behind me stirs a promise for the day
My lips form a poem too loaded to bear

Toward the factory stand steel and might
A slit of red that seeks the bay
My breath sends a prayer into the air

Ancestor songs sing “Run, freeze and fight!
Be a footed fish not a whale of clay.”
My lips form a poem too loaded to bear

Eyes search each block for tints of light
Seek sticky hope to fix and stay
My breath sends a prayer into the air

Blue ribbon peeks beneath band of night
Black evergreens promise the fog away
My breath sends a prayer into the air
My lips form a poem too loaded to bear

 

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