Friday, October 16, 2009

The Hotdog in the Drain

I've never been wild about poetry, unless you count my senior year of college, when my suitemates and I developed a flyting contest to see who could write the most offensive limerick about another member of the suite. Each morning we'd wake up and discover that somebody, before their 9am history or literature class, had written a particularly unsavory poem on one of our numerous dry-erase boards. By the evening that day, you could expect a poem in retaliation. No one was safe. If the poet felt so inspired, he often included illustrations to accompany the limericks.

I often wondered what our housekeeper thought of these.

However, as I spelunked through my cavernous "My Documents" folder (I've been using the same computer for over 6 years), I discovered a poem I wrote my freshman year of college. It was inspired by my time working as a dishwasher in Kimball Dining Hall, and it was the first article I ever published in the Holy Cross Crusader newspaper. More importantly, it stands as definitive proof that I have always been this weird. Enjoy.

The Hotdog in the Drain

The idea of a weekend cafeteria shift
Scared me half to death
9 hours washing dishes left me
Spiritless and out of breath
And though I smelled of dishwater
And my back was wrought with pain
I could look back and smile thinking of
The Hotdog in the Drain.

We dishwashers throw used food into
A swift river in a gutter.
Indiscriminately, it eats tofu, pasta,
Fish, and rolls with butter.
Then I saw one piece of food resist,
He would be the water’s bane--
With all its power this hotdog would not budge,
The Hotdog in the Drain.

The hotdog fought the current
Like a salmon’s mating feat
Which is quite the daring achievement
For a sack of processed meat
No meatball nor grape could ever escape
The rushing water main
But one lone hero in a bun held true:
The Hotdog in the Drain.

He fought the current for five minutes
'fore the river grew enraged
It was then the dishwashing tides doubled
And the hotdog disengaged.
He rolled and rolled, into the disposal—
I’d never see him again
He was the boldest food I’d ever known,
The Hotdog in the Drain.

Still sorting through dishes, I wept for he
Who the river carried away
But his memory lingers in my mind
And still to this day
I knew he helped me escape the boredom
Of a job mundane.
I’ll always smile and remember fondly
The Hotdog in the Drain…

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