Neighbors

Quiet practice I considered a courtesy.
The gesture of a considerate neighbor.

The walls in this apartment complex are thin.
Sometimes I think I can see through them.

With the powerlifter on my right,
it’s as if I could reach over and spot for him,
help ease those barbells silently to the floor.

On the left it sounds like a karate dojo,
the family breaking boards and bashing bricks,
punctuating the mayhem with “Hi-yahs!” that make me jump.

It’s the same problem with the paper thin ceilings and floors.
I thought Mikhail Baryshnikov might have moved in above me,
but then I figured, Nah, Baryshnikov’s not a tap dancer.

The couple below me drive me crazy the most.
At night.  Every night. Sometimes all night long.
The stamina. Unbelievable.
I curse these cookie-cutter apartments,
they could have inspired Malvina Reynolds to pen “Little Boxes,”
how the bedroom of these marathon sex-addicts
sits exactly beneath mine, their bed exactly beneath mine.
If I could harness moaning to generate electricity,
the porn-stars downstairs could power my AC.

And of course they’re the ones who complain
about my classical guitar music,
me at volume level minus one,
the ghost of Segovia straining with an ear trumpet
to provide me with imagined feedback.

When they pound on my floor in irritation,
it sounds like maybe they’re using a broom handle.
Then again, maybe it’s this Ron Jeremy’s penis-for-all-seasons,
locked and loaded 24-7,
his Leatherman, his all-purpose Swiss Army knife.

At two in the morning, I should get out of bed,
do the Wisconsin Badger Jump Around,
make like I’m rocking Camp Randall Stadium
on their ceiling.

As I say, however, I’m the model of courtesy.
But believe me, with these guys,
it’s hard.

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