Other Poems by:

Garret Schuelke

Stella Harmony

The name is the same as Lead Belly’s twelve-stringed legend-maker/
It was purchased by my grandpa John sometime in the late 1960’s for my mom/
He had hopes of her being able to use it in some constructive way/

Never happened/

By proxy, the guitar is now mine/
By proxy, it’s a gift from grandpa/

For years, I just played around with it/
Whenever I did seriously try to learn how to play it, I would quit out of frustration two-three days later/

As of 2007, that has changed/
I will learn how to play this thing/
I will play my favorite Bob Dylan, Woody Guthrie, Matthew Good, Lead Belly, and Dashboard Confessional tunes on it/

It shall no longer produce noise.

(Copyright © 2007 by Garret Schuelke)

Short-Timer

Hoses can’t be rolled up if they’re twisted up/
Bosses also get pissed if you don’t realize it’s become twisted/

“Straighten it out! Don’t just stand there like you’re holding a cock!” yells Alex, my foreman/

“Fuck you old man! Fuckin’ eat shit and die!” I yell/

Nothing is said between us afterwards/
We roll up the hose, clean up the rest of the area, and leave/

Everyone get out of the Suburban/
“Floyd, when is your last week?” Alex asks me/
I tell him/
He writes it down/
“We gotta talk.”/
“About what?” I ask/
He turns to face me/
“I noticed that you’re starting to develop what me and the guys back in the Navy called ‘short-timers’ syndrome.”/
I’m confused/
“A short-timer is someone who starts to slow down because they know their time is almost up.”/
He stops me before a single word can come out of my mouth/
“And you fell that since you’re almost done, you’re all like ‘Fuck-this-shit-why-should-I-bust-my-ass-over-it?”/
“That’s not how I think!” I blurt out/
“Well Spicer, that shit down in the tunnel with the hose was the last straw for me.”/

I sighed/
There was nothing I could really say to counter that/

“Well listen,” he said suddenly. “You’re not in any kind of trouble. I just wanted to warn you about the signs I have been seeing.”/
We talked a bit more and he asked me if I hate working here/
“I don’t,” I replied. “But it just gets to me some days, you know?”/
“Well, this is what’s gonna happen,” he explained. “Just work hard and do your best the last few weeks you’re here.”/
“Okay.”/
“And I’ll let you take it easy your last week.”/
“You don’t have to do that for me.”/
“Have to,” he said with a grin. “It’s tradition.”/

We walk back to the lunch room to pack up/
I apologize again to him/

“Don’t worry about it Floyd,” he says. “Don’t worry.”


(Copyright © 2007 by Garret Schuelke)

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