Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hillbilly Poetry

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Franky moved in with my downstairs neighbor about four years ago. Being a rather accomplished single woman, I assume she allowed him to live with her because he was eye candy. I still remember the first time I laid eyes on him; shoulder length, unkempt hair, wild stubble, his unexpectedly impressive physique accentuated by tight blue jeans and a tighter t-shirt. He looked like Toby Keith. Being that she was a rather frumpy yet well-off woman, it's no wonder she said "fuck it" and let him into her posh condo and her bed.

Unfortunately (mostly for her), somewhere along the line Franky suffered a couple vigorous blows to the head. This, coupled by a drinking problem that softened his brain and crippled his pancreas, left Franky unemployed, broken, and all around useless. Not owning a car, and completely unable or unwilling to utilize a bicycle or a taxi, Franky no longer leaves the house unless his regretful sugar-momma carts him somewhere like the special-needs case he is. So now he mostly just drinks, listens to Led Zeppelin or Johnny Cash, and waits for someone to happen by and break the everyday monotony that has become his life.

Once I had a beer with Franky on the front stairs of our building. I wish I hadn't. Since then he's come to view me as a companion, while I merely view him as an annoying oddity. He listens for my exiting footsteps in the morning as I leave for work so he can meet me outside for his morning smoke, giving him the opportunity to ramble at me while I slowly and awkwardly get into my car and drive away. He similarly waits for my returning footsteps in the evening, as they signal a chance for him to run up and invite me to consume some sort of consciousness-altering substance (i.e. booze, pot, cocaine, mushrooms, Percocet, and so on). On sunny days he lounges on his porch, smoking cheap cigarettes, drinking cheaper whiskey, and waiting to unleash a torrent of mindless chatter at myself or my girlfriend, or anyone else who may just happen by. During colder weather he smokes beneath the staircase, lurking like a childhood monster awaiting the unwary footsteps of a potential friend. In short, this unwelcome stranger has become an ever present house guest to me, and I have become a prisoner: I don't leave my home anymore. I escape.

One chilly night last week, while infinitely inebriated, Franky paid me a visit to show off his poetic abilities. He knows (unfortunately) that I'm a musician, and was hoping to collaborate with me on a few "bitchin' tunes." The section pictured above is the result of that collaboration. The first stanza represents Franky's initial attempt at capturing his thoughts, but upon realizing he didn't know how to spell "witness," he passed the duties of dictation to myself. The second stanza captures a repeat attempt to dictate his verse, as I "fucked up" the first one. As well as this poem, Franky brought up his collected works, some transcribed by himself before his "accidents," others by his sugar-momma, as he was no longer able to write legibly or accurately. Unfortunately Franky didn't allow those works to remain in my prescience for long. I can only image he feared I'd be careless with them, or worse, try to claim them as my own.

I've posted our collaboration here for everyone to enjoy, as it's the only revenge I'm able to take upon my neighbor. Franky is a gun nut, and completely retarded, so I'd rather not risk getting on the wrong side of his temper or his shotgun. I rest easy on this blog knowing he has neither the equipment nor the motivation to navigate the world wide web.

Many people have asked me how I manage to live like this, "this" meaning cohabiting a living space with a drunken, mentally deficient loser. My answer to them is simple: with all the abuse he puts his body through, he'll be dead soon. And if he doesn't do himself in, his frumpy, disappointed support system will do him the favor.

Until then, we wait, my friends. We wait.

V

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