In the Portable Cooler

The white walls close,
the carpet stains.
Back and forth
five steps each way
he wanders;
day in and day out and
day sliding off to one side.
Doffing his cap to the masses
in his mind
he proclaims a tapdance
and tries to justify this misplacement.

Close but no cancer
stick
with that dayjob, Johnny.
Never mind what all work
and no play turns you into
when the night comes crawling home.
Wrap up with a book
before the fire,
in the pacing path
your hunting trail
of ten on a two-way trip.
Pick it up,
move it on.

For a change of pace
he paints the walls red
and invests in wood flooring
like the surveys said
could solve his problem;
which remains in the end
Five steps right
five steps left,
five steps up or down if he turns
the whole world on its passive side.

AKL 2005