The Good Old Days

Moving outward—
Different places, different places,
Passing time with different faces
From the places of yesterday.

‘I keep my doors locked,” said Hyman over his shoulder,
As he swung the wheel of his rattling cab.
“Every week, two or three stick-ups.
Hop heads.
Damned kids.
Not like it used to be.”

They wouldn’t do it if they ever had to work each day.
I began working when I was fifteen.
Nobody has to liberate me from anything.”
Lola sloshed water through the caked grounds at the bottom of the Silex, splashing the counter.
“Damned kids.
Not like it used to be.”

“Used to be,” Al said, fiddling with has badge, nervous habit,
“They hung around the corner but
When ya moved in a little
They just moved on down the street
And finally went home.
Not no more.
Now they just oink at me.
Wise ass kids.
Not like it used to be.”

“I put in the mirrors
There—and over there
So I can see both aisles
While I’m at the register.
You wouldn’t believe
The shit they’ll take
If it ain’t nailed down.”
Andy rang the sale and sighed.
“Not like it used to be.”

Roger sneered from underneath his cap.
“Bourgeois bastard rich little mothers, Stevie.
Playing it big with long hair and all that crap.
Rap about it,
Where it’s at.
They don’t know, though.
They don’t care.
Nothing new.
Not like it used to be.”

Moving inward—
Different places, different places
Filled with the same old
Goddamned faces
Running stupid tired rat races,
Dripping sweat, leaving traces,
Cutting flesh in different places,
Different places
Just like it used to be.