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Kathy Kopp

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Building B Boiler
by Kathy Kopp
Rated "PG" by the Author.
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Low income housing needs to be repaired, either the housing or the low-income folks living there.


Building B Boiler

In my sparse apartment
I’m snoozin’ on the airbed.

The janitor wakes me with a knock,
Hey Mac, could ya give me a hand here?

I stumble over to the leaky boiler
pulling on my cowboy boots.

After the janitor shows me how to turn off the boiler
we leap two feet across concrete
dodging a busted pipe spraying hot water

Holes in the house —
a maintenance guy
one of the many
aims his hammer on yellow siding.

He pivots to reach a leak from outside
knocking gaps in low-income

exterior walls
where is the best opening we try for?
nowhere at all.

A nail shatters through to the shower stall.
Running inside, I slip on wet tiles
white like the Milky Way

Smooth as a ghost I glide
Landing on my ass
jarring my teeth

Who the hell am I?
a phantom of myself?
Some devious trick
drives us to try harder than what is good for us.
We know this yet we’re drawn to do it.

I meet the ringing of my cell phone.
"how to fix a class C boiler, Sir"

Midway in phone advice
the boiler man yells.

Racing over, I stop some leaks.
If puttin’ my finger in a metal hole would help
I would.

The siding man shouts for a hand.
(I hope I still have one)
We trace along the pipes,
patchin’ ‘em
chewin’ ham croissants
between pliers and wrenches.

An old dryer in Building B
screeches and rocks like a piston
No one in Building B
can do a thing about it


© Copyright Kathy Kopp 2008











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Reviewed by Jerry Engler
Amen to what Regis and Karen had to say, Kathy. The poem gave the feel of the helpless state of a person trying to help with none of the control to really allow it...good catch of the frustration. Interesting structure to the poem too...Jerry
Reviewed by Regis Auffray
Harsh and real... ...and sad that some folks have to live this way... ...and some even in worse circumstances. Thank you, Kathy. Love and best wishes to you,

Reviewed by Karen Palumbo
Oh boy does this one bring back memories. Once lived in an apartment complex where the landlord would just keep adding clams when pipes busted instead of calling a plumber. After a while I lost count of all the clamps that ran throughout the building....

Be always safe,
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