Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Last Laundromat



Hey everyone -- on what would have been Hank's fortieth birthday, I give you one of his poems from the infamous laundromat trilogy. I'll be back tomorrow with more excitment!

The Laundromat Trilogy, Part Three:
You Head So Big by Hank D. Ballenger

This is the last laundromat poem,
I promise.
I've moved to a better-appointed apartment complex.

I was dividing my attention
between Bukowski's Septuagenarian Stew,
my clothes in dryer four,
and a man to my right teaching a little boy
how to play the dozens.

"Your head's so big
you can wear a phone booth
for an earring."
I'd been watching this little drama
since the spin cycle.
Seems Mom,
who stayed well on the other side
of the washeteria most of the time,
was testing this man.

"Well, you head so big
it look like a dinosaur."
"Any man," I imagine her saying,
"can be good to a child every other weekend or so,
take him places,
buy him treats.
Let's see how he handles the real
day-to-day kind of stuff."

"Your head's so big
you need a fork lift for a hat-rack."

Two things were clear:
the little boy had been through this before,
and trying to teach a seven-year-old
how to play the dozens
was a bad idea.

"Well, you head so big,
it look like a cow."
"No, Thomas, that won't work.
It's not funny."
"Yeah it is, you look like a cow."
"No, that's not funny, it's just strange.
Say something else."

"You say something else."
I wanted to help him out;
but dozens for the Disney crowd
is not my speciality.
All the lines I know are strictly NC-17.
He seemed like a nice guy.
He even kept his cool when the kid talked
about his "other daddy" and his "first daddy."

"Your head's so big
they post hurricane warnings
every time you get a cold."
Good one. Go for snot.
Snot works.

Picture if you will a group of first-graders
on a playground
shot from the waist down,
a Gap Kids logo in the bottom
right corner of the screen.

"Best pickle joke," one says.
"That's a given," another replies,
kicking a soccer ball, "What's big and green
and fights bad guys?"
In chorus: "A Mighty Morphin' Power Pickle!"
Kids that age are natural born surrealists.
I guess Bukowski never grew out of it.

"You head so big
they post warnings
when you get a cold."
"That's not funny."
"Yeah it is."
"You just said the same thing I did."
"Well, it was funny."
"But that's not the way it goes, Thomas.
You have to say something funny and different."

Tell me about it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Most wretched men are cradled to poetry by wrong: they learn in suffering what they teach in song”

Cocktail Hour
Drinking documentary suggestion: Every Little Step (plan on writing about this soon -- it's really great.)

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Snot is not so bad.--Mr. Ectoplasm

Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no evidence that Sudafed causes hair loss.--Ear, Nose and Throat

Anonymous said...

RIP Fess Parker. You looked great in a coonskin hat.--Buddy Ebsen

Scott said...

Michelle,

Nice poem..Hank was a talented guy.

Hope you're having a good week!

Dave said...

Hank's 40th birthday.

Would this mean that you turn 40 this year?

Wow.