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This work is licensed
under a Creative Commons
4.0 International License

Postmodern Village
est. 1999
e-mail * terms * privacy
The Honorable Janitor Haiku
by Kathleen Davis and Lael Ewy

From Sensei Lael:

vomit in the hall--
are those cheetos, or some strange
new stomach disease?

I pop the cap and
take a big whiff: is that mint
or the smell of death?

cleaners: good for the body,
the mind, and the soul.

the great orbital
buffer whines, wanders about
the hallway. bad pet.

scuff marks on my floor:
damn rubber heels. gulls return
to shit the beach green.

I got the pine-sol
blues; the smell cloys: stinky gym
socks, grey locker funk.

guidance counselor:
no one knows--it's our secret--
she wrings my mop dry.

the scent of pine--its
spirit fills the hallways, drives
out the human stench

the mop sloshes bright
green fluid all over: god,
devil? No: random.

the floor buffer turns,
orbits like Copernicus'
universe: wax on

in the boiler room
I take my rest; crickets croak:
ham on rye again?

bad bulb, broken desk--
how many janitors does
it take to get screwed?

my grey uniform:
stenciled name, a little loop
for all my damn keys

principal's broken
desk: his squeaky chair: shove it
up your chalk-dry ass

a mop is a thing
of beauty: no matter how
you wring it, it lives

the trash barrels are
heavy today: mad students
throw away hard work

what I find in the
lockers after the school year
could start museum

From Sensei Kathleen:

hello yellow stain
why can't these boys ever hit
the damn urinal?

without me the mass,
the wave of unending mess
will overtake them

I push the broom hard
in the dark I press it close
respect from my love

i could have been a
great scientist or some shit
fuck that stupid math

my girl, she left me
for a valet--damn it, boys
no running out here!

those snooty teachers
are getting what they deserve
out on their asses

the secret to clean
is industrial-strength shit
that burns and rends flesh

religion exists
in the broom--cleanliness is
next to godliness

if I wash this wall
tender as a lover's back
pure white flesh shines through

the polished glass orb
of outdoor lighting answers
back to him: wax off

in the boiler room
3 o'clock, I meet my love
she brings her whistle

one to hold the bulb
and six to scrape together
cash for the hooker

i sit like buddha
no tree, under the back stairs
with a cigarette

with careful hiding
one can spend all day doing
the art of nothing

the mop speaks to me
in the language of water
soapy and impure

I know not why gum
chooses to gather in dark
cowers from scraper

what I find in the
corners of the teacher's lounge
sells at Priscilla's