Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Alla Viale

Squeegee Guy

Standing in the hot Tuscan sun where roads cross,
The mustachioed tattered prince of a despised race
Of centuries of darkness squints at the line of cars arriving
From the cool countryside queuing up at the red light.

With only a minute to work sparing no extra effort,
he bypasses a dirty little Ape, a full taxi, the motorini;
And moves towards the clean new Mercedes,
the cool driver behind tinted glass staring ahead.

Dripping squeegee dangling from his hand,
His mission is simple: clean a windshield.
All he needs is a simple nod, eye contact, a smile
To improve your view of your daily commute.

The process repeats itself at each change of the light
New faces but the same expressions: words of disgust,
Pangs of pity, darts of hate, looks of sympathy,
And from most – just no looks at all.

His woman fitfully sleeps nearby on a shaded bench, or
A break from the heat sprawled on the grass of the park.
Then a brief call on a pay phone to who knows who,
It’s back to the red light, the words, the looks, and small change.

At sunset there is enough for cheap wine and bread.
Walking to their trailer along of a littered road,
The clinking of change in their hidden pockets
Keeping the rhythm of the music in their heads.

William Padgett, 28 June 2005

No comments: