Saturday, April 26, 2008

Begrudgment: Beer and the Roomba

To think you're still maintaining that old score
as if you were bartending, and my tab
was full of unpaid drinks. I swear you're like
a Roomba swooping round a polished floor
in search of any strand of lint to grab,
or vultures waiting for a car to strike

some sorry squirrel. Justice is on strike,
you mutter, while your heavy hand is scoring
gouges in the tabletop. I grab
another can of beer and pull the tab
and foam pours out and soaks the vinyl flooring
like the Red Sea drowning Pharoah. Like--

oh, who cares what the hell this beer is like?
Its sole importance is as one more strike
against me. Get the mop out, scrub the floor
and put it all down on my growing score.
You know I'll never live to pay this tab,
you'll have to settle for what you can grab:

unsatisfactory, I'm sure. It grabs
me, though I doubt it's to your liking,
that I should dodge the arrows, slings and stabs
of vast, outrageous fortune's random striking
and exit, leaving this unsettled score,
a steaming pile of grudge upon the floor

of your neat parlor. Truly, I was floored
to find you hadn't let it go. You grab
on tight, I'll say-- but brittle as unscored
Saltines. Rigidity is fragile, like
a glass that shatters at the slightest strike
where metal bends, a curling beer-can tab

for instance. Press the Roomba's power-tab,
the mindless thing will circle round the floor
and never think that it should go on strike
for higher wages. Robots never grab
from other robots just because they like
to. Humans are the ones who must keep score.

You had to grab the mike, so take the floor
and call the strikes and runs just as you like.
There's no-one keeping tabs or taking score.

Collection available! Knocking from Inside


Dale said...

Ow. Beautifully done.

jadey said...

I think you summed it up very nicely good post.

White Rose said...

Very nicely done. I love how you build the resentment.

Anonymous said...

some wonderful surprises--unscored saltines, the idea of tabs--keeping them pulling them...

nicely "scored" as well with the stanzas

onemorebeliever said... that was good... piling of steaming grudge.. unpaid tab... filled with unexpecting images that describe so well

DrBacchus said...

I'm always fascinated by folks who will willingly write a sestina. This one worked, unlike so many others which seem to follow the form, but lack the internal cohesion. Well done.

I particularly liked the unpaid tab, and the unscored saltine. Unexpected, and apropos.

Thanks for the images. I finally got around to writing one on this theme just yesterday.

Perhaps I'll try a few more sestinas this week. Thanks for the inspiration.