Throat gargle 4 stroke single cylinder –
Tin rattle can coffee –
Loose clunk 3 speed semi-automatic transmission –
Bone shrill, drum brake squeal –
Skin tint, news print, white guntei gloves –
Sun cracked rubber ties of recycled truck tire tubes –
Bed head, chin stubble, crotch stained work pants –
Rage tempered, tarmac stamping, next morning sake breath –
Stale, oh so stank stale, cigarette air sweat –
Frayed sleeved nylon jacket –
Bent brim baseball cap, sun faded black –
Old shoes, crushed heel, broken lace, detached sole –
The paper is out –
Step through pressed steel –
Gracefully lean to one side –
In perfect order.
-a haibun poem
*Guntei gloves are a woven work glove used for lighter jobs typically just to keep the hands clean.
**”Sake” as in the two syllable Japanese Sa-ke rice based wine or whiskey.
This poem is based on hundreds of experiences with the 50cc newspaper delivery motorcycles that nearly own the roads in neighborhoods before dawn. In the summer with the windows open it is nearly impossible to sleep through their constant coming and going. As can be imagined, this isn’t a particularly skilled occupation so the workers come from all walks of life and can display amazing hostility when their delivery routine is interrupted. At the same time, the order with which their Honda Super Cubs are parked outside their staging area is in apparent complete contradiction to this other lived reality — merely extensions of each other.