bird on wire

Bakers Shoeman

Working at the shoe store
seeing ladies’ thighs, seeing ladies’ thighs, seeing ladies’ thighs,
working at the show store seeing ladies’ thighs,
heaven is a state of mind.

But since eyeballs bring no commission,
and pussy don’t pad the paycheck,
cash’s more important than the flashes.

– Smith, 2.20.2014

excerpt from SotL&F:

When I started at Loyola College, I couldn’t work at Bethlehem Steel anymore because of the hours, so I became a snow cone flavor delivery boy. Once I saw how filthy the flavoring vats were, I stopped eating snow cones off the street. Then I became a womens shoe salesman because the store had flexible hours and I could still go to school. After I sold a pair of shoes, I was required to try to sell a belt, purse and gloves to go with the shoes. This made me feel unclean and indelicate, so I didn’t.

One day I told my boss, “I’m not carrying my weight around here, am I.”

“No,” he said. “But you add a sense of class.”

I didn’t wear underwear then. One night my pants ripped as I crouched down to put on a customer’s shoe and my testicles popped out. The boss gave me a stiff canvas money bag, and I went down to the mall’s mens room with its seven urinals and green metal toilet stall walls and sewed the bag to the crotch of my pants and got this poem:

National Debt

Huddled beneath behind
Green metal stalls
The tile encrusted
Yellow, he sews an
Empty money bag
To his crotch, watches
His reflection mirrored
In regimented urinals
five six seven
Decaying down the wall
Cradling his existence
Fraying five to seven
In staid erotic fear
Small spider woven
Through uninforming ears
Tired of heaven he sews
His money to his crotch
He huddles

Outside of being one of 2,754 naked people in Spencer Tunick’s Cleveland nude shoot in 2004, I have never seen as much female flesh as I did as a womens shoe salesman. Women knowingly spread their legs as I crouched at their feet and asked me help them on with their boots. But after the first couple weeks all I cared about was commission.

– from Stations of the Lost & Found, a True Tale of Armed Robbery, Stolen Cars, Outsider Art, Mutant Poetry, Underground Publishing, Robbing the Cradle, and Leaving the Country by Smith & Lady, 2012, The City Poetry Press, $20, 364 pages, 5.06″ x 7.81″

on a roll

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