Monday, February 5, 2007

Niegbors From Hell

Every kid in grammar school has heard of the Guinness Book of Records (now called the Guinness World Records). If you've forgotten, it’s a book that complies world records for the best performance in a certain discipline, usually a sports event. In the U.S. the term world’s record is the more common term. Outside of conventional sports, world records can also be set in virtually anything that is measurable. I went to the website for Guinness when I thought about doing today’s topic to see if I could find the Guinness Book of Records for the number of times a person has moved. I know I could win that category hands-down. Honestly, I must have moved over a hundred times since I left home and went off to college at 19 (I commuted the first year). And let me tell you I know what the term “neighbors from hell” means. I’m living across from two right now. Between their verbal and physical arguments, the 15-20 pounding on their door from would-be bill collectors, the general riff-raff they call guest, and the boom-box-music laced late night parties they are a nightmare. And don’t get me wrong. I live in a nice respectable building in a nice yuppie part of town. I just happen to be unlucky enough to have rented an otherwise great apartment next to losers. It’s not the first time I’ve had this kind of “luck” either. Every neighbor I’ve had for the last half dozen years have been this type, hell-raisers. And so once again, I’m moving, this time after only 6-months of living here. Lucky for me management is aware of the problem (they assure me they are working on it) and have let me break my lease (it would have been six more months of hell). Aren't there any more “sensible” people living in apartments, you know, people who like to read a good book at night and “go away” for the weekend. I went over to the new place today. It’s always the same, so quiet when you see it (as if the manager slips a little note under every door on the floor saying “quiet please, here comes the next sucker) which is the way it remains for the first couple of nights after you’ve moved in. Then all hell breaks loose. And you know what's so funny, the mayhem never interferes with my writing. In fact, here’s a poem conceived in that very madness:

“Skip #73” Sonnet

I have my reasons. For instance, the ability
to iron creases out of a fan for one. To find
a chaos theory appealing for another. United
shoelaces. Overturned chairs. The buoy left
out in the frigid ocean. An obdurate spider. A
redeemed sheep. The quack of a ravenous
duck. “X” that does not mark the spot. Pastry
already stale. No shortage of hummingbirds.
Lead feathers. Tarred toast. Clouds that have
not yet learned how to clot. Defiant caterpillars.
Edible snails. The sun & moon oblivious to
indifference. No pet rocks. Beauty when its
accidental. Fruit that purposely lacks seeds
and of course, a steadfast belief in the notion
of “why”.

This poem first appeared online at:
Copyright 2007 by Maurice Oliver. All Rights Reserved.
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