I walked into the entrance of my Apartment Building,
Or Locker Room,
With my empty pizza box in hand and something of a gameplan in mind.
Stepping into the industrial elevator,
I inserted my Key Card,
Pressed button number 'Sixth Floor,'
And began rising up through the stories.
Elevator for the building required a Special Key Card.
For how low I was in the Financial Food Chain,
I imagined my place was pretty Top Dog 'Xclusive,
‘Specially seeing as I was only a stone-skip away from Times Square.
Elevator doors parted open at the top floor of the building.
I was stomping through the hall,
Hungry and passing fast through the aisle
Set with Double-Stacked Locker Units on both sides of me.
The Florescent Lights overhead were exceedingly bright, as usual.
Along the way of mazing my way through to my place,
I grabbed onto the portable Stairway and pushed it along,
Stopping directly beneath a thick ceiling Pipeline,
Engraved with the bold words that read:
‘Made in U.S.A.’
I exhaled a tired breath.
“Home, Sweet, Home,” I said, climbing the steps and thinking, ‘Kinda…’
Pulling out my keys,
I unlocked the Locker,
And opened it up to find everything precisely as neat as I had left it.
Let me sketch the picture for you.
The Locker Room was roughly 5 X 5 X 5.
Upon the Bottom Shelf - Sleep-Gear Pack.
Upon the Second Shelf - Duffel bag, containing all clean clothes.
Upon the Top Shelf - A wooden sign that read BLONDYN, (For MARKETING)
A Bose Boom Box, (For ROCK ‘N ROLLING)
And a Menorah, hosting 9 unlit candles. (For LIGHTING)
In one corner I had a vinyl bag for dirty laundry,
And in the opposing corner was a fold up chair,
- Complements of WFM -
Which I unfolded duly
And had myself a seat.
I was breathing deep and listening to nothing but Golden Silence.
Locker Unit or Apartment Room,
The one thing that stood without argument
Was that I had yet to find a place in New York, New York
That was quieter than my cute and aluminum 5 X 5 X 5 cubic condominium.
All across the Sixth Floor, nobody was ever there, practically always.
At midnight, this could be creepy; in the afternoon, soothing;
And at any time of day, definitely a place for a Rave or Party.
“O Brother,” I said.
That was the sound of the elevator engine, from across the way.
It made that sound every time it started upping or downing,
Just to let me know that someone in the building was either coming or going.
Most times it was just other ‘Residents,’
But sometimes it was the Security Guards,
Making the rounds, doing their checks to make sure nobody was sleeping.
I held onto the peace and quiet and waited to see if someone was coming up to my floor.
As I mentioned before, sleeping in the Locker Room was prohibited.
But so was just good old fashiond 'Kicking it,' or 'Hanging out,' -
Something which I’d found out first hand, only about a month prior –
About one month prior,
When having stepped in yet another puddle with my busted Dr. Marten Boots,
I stopped by my locker to change socks.
Having taken a seat to do so,
I then decided to take a minute to kick my bare feet up,
When the jingling of keys preceded one of the Security Guards,
Walking past my wide-open door
To find the Locker Room Pauper,
Like a Modern Day Tom Sawyer.
Security Guard just stood there, looking up at me and at a loss for words.
“You can’t be like this.”
I thought the statement was especially strange,
Riddled of subtleties, ebbing and flowing
Along several lines of Translation.
I assumed this guy was not from the U.S.A.,
And by his accent,
I was guessing he was from one of the islands
Along the warm equatorial line;
His tone, brisk as Winter.
My question was just a question in general.
Allowing him to pick and choose
Whatever issue he wished to address.
“You can’t let them find you like this…”
Again, I was intrigued over what exactly he was suggesting.
“You mean sitting?”
“Resting,” he explained. “If my Boss finds you Resting, he’ll kick you out.”
Wasn’t this getting interesting…
Living on the streets,
Being threatened that he might be kicked out of his Locker Room,
In which case,
He would be living on the streets,
Only with a load of cargo that would make for some serious weight to freight about NYC.
I smiled at the thought and sighed,
While trying to recollect
Exactly at which point in my Life
I had decided
To make everything so fabulously complicated.
“Hey man,” I started, still sitting low and looking down on him when I pointed over to my Dr. Martens. “You see those boots? They’re ripped right along the sole and soaked through and through.”
I nodded to make sure he was understanding, and then continued—
“I was just giving my feet a chance to dry.”
He wrinkled his nose at that.
“And I’m just doing my job.”
I wrinkled my nose at that.
“So where does that leave us?” I asked.
“No problem between us,” he answered, “But just know…”
And at that, he continued on, making his rounds.
He was a genuine guy, thought I.
And then I thought about what he would do had he caughten me changing clothes,
Or blowing my nose,
Or better yet,
Brushing my teeth!
(People, People, Please,
I’m clean and orderly -
Organized and ordinary -
It just happened, you know…)
Rumble, Rumble, Rumble….
That was the sound of the elevator doors opening up on my floor.
I listened out for the jingling of keys,
But hearing no jangle,
I poked my head out coyly beyond the Locker
Like a Submarine Periscope,
Peeking out the deep blue to have a peep.
“How you doing, baby?”
That was my neighbor, down the way.
He had a good eye,
And had spotted me having a looksie.
From time to time,
He and I crossed paths
While doing our thing.
“O, you know…” I told him, knowing he was knowing something on the Game
While I went right along thinking –
Maintaining, Sustaining, Never Complaining and always Gaining, Gaining, Gaining Mo…!
At the thought of 'Momentum,' my thought dropped off with exclamation.
Wait a second, I thought, scoffingly -
‘You ain’ Moving, you Resting!’
Right then, I snapped to -
Stepped through one, two, three pairs of jeans,
Dove, swaddled and swam amidst 2 seas of sweatshirt and 1 ocean of overcoat,
Stomped my Wool Socks into my Doc Boots,
Grabbed my pizza box,
Ripped it in half,
Took the top and wrote in Big Black Block Letters:
CUP of SOUP ?
And with my Sleeping Bag Pack for Props,
Got on my way to the Heart of Manhattan,