Jon Vreeland, “Apartment A vs. Apartment C” and “40 on Black.”

© Gerry Gomez

© Gerry Gomez

Apartment A vs. Apartment C

by Jon Vreeland

In Apartment A
Students stay up all night long;
Playing like young adults,
Enjoying their unwanted youth,
Until the moon splits
And the sun makes the shadows
Eyes bleed.

In Apartment C
A young family is born;
Screaming baby
Tired mother
Pissed off father from the long hours–
His colossal plumbing truck stands valiantly
in the tenant parking, taking up
two spaces,
making the students park somewhere else–
I sit on my balcony.
Watch the endless feud with my

I watched the young dad
Drooling like a rabid wolf,
Heading to Apartment A
A Louisville Slugger held tightly in
His hands.
Eyes on the
Luminous porchlight the students left
Shining vehemently, piercing the
Young father’s regretted life.

I watch the students party
like the children they are; A revolving door of
Surfers, even some hippies,
Exploring life
Each other
Smiling and laughing in the night,
Sleeping while the sun burns violently.

(While the angry dad slash plumber,
Literally deals with everyone’s Grimy Shit).

That night I watched a million pieces of glass
Strewn across the moon and sky.
The furious dad
Himself in the shattered glass, from an innocent–
Now murdered–
Screaming like a monster
Holding the bat overhead, a hand on each end,
His silhouette dancing on the front wall
Tall like Lincoln
Fangs like Darby Crash;
The unforgettable Pearls of an angry plumber
A Rueful-less dad.

The students did nothing.

40 on Black

I used to swing a hammer
for an old man who
would bring his dog to the site.
Tie him up all day.
Poor mutt.
Just sitting there
Smiling at us
as we worked in the sultry sun,
Up on the roof where
I could taste the beer from
the night before,
smell the stale
beer on my tired breath.

But the kept dog smiling.

He paid us Fridays.
Some of us came back Monday
asking for an advance.

“What happened to your cash?”
the old man asked.

“What do you think old man?
Forty on Black got me again!”

The old man never scoffed
Never yelled,
Just swung his hammer
like the rest of us.
No booze
No whores
No drugs
No Jesus.
Just a small pickup truck and us bastards
swinging our hammers,
Waiting for the moon

And the dog to keep smiling

Jon Vreelandwas born in Long Beach, CA, and raised in Huntington Beach where he became an accomplished musician and struggled with addiction most of his life. He has over twenty publications and a poetry chapbook titled Laughing in Your Sleep. Vreeland resides in Santa Barbara with his wife and two daughters and attends Santa Barbara City College.

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