Midnight Ramble

This is the middle class, lower. The tree in the yard.
Bushes in front of the house. Flowers in the yard. Lawn
mowers growling. Dogs barking. Lots of dogs. Every-
body has one, for safety, and they keep them locked up
in their yards where they bark and bark behind their
fences because no one ever takes them for a walk. Ice
cream men. Lawn chairs. And beer and beer bellies and
white paint on trim and brick and a hose at the side of
the house. Squares, everything squares. Sidewalks and
lawns and porches and houses and brains. TV sets. Gar-
age sales and telephone poles. Kids sell kool-aid in sum-
mer, shovel snow in winter. Till they’re old enough to
smoke and drink and raise hell. They get a couple years
of that, then it’s factory time. Always one lawn mower
going. Because everyone on this street works in a fac-
tory and they’re all on different shifts. Maybe they
communicate through their lawns, waking me here in
the dark, damp basement. The young guys in the fac-
tory say they’re not going to work there the rest of
their lives. Just ‘temporary.’ The old guys laugh at that.
They say Temporary my ass.

:: Jim Daniels, Punching Out

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