The Graveyard Shift
Darkest night and longest hours:
Hours to labor and
Hours to trip in the primitive ooze of repetition
Hours to catch up or trade for spare minutes,
Hours with eyes only half aware
Of life and its warnings,
Lifeless and blissless hours of emptiness,
Hours that never end,
Hours of yawning and stale coffee,
Hours measured in radio songs and cigarettes.
Darkest light before the day,
With shades of grey and
Unidentifiable lumps of black.
Humped, dark masses of human
Trudge through the hours
With brooms and coffee and sleeplessness
And floor buffing machines
Humming angelic tunes like flagellant dirges.
Shapeless figures with no place to go
For hours, no home to fine
For hours, no peace of mind
For listless hours.
Moonless hours for the streetlamps
And for the peddlers of lawlessness.
They count their hours in dimes
And nickles and quarters,
But never pennies or half dollars,
And never by retracing foot steps,
If they can help it.
Hours for the fools that sleep.
Hours for the watchman on his beat.
Hours for the black blood
Puddled and undiscovered on the blackest streets.
Still to come is the hour of discovery.
Hours spent despairingly counting
The slow progression of passing hours.
A second hand that drips like cold molasses.
A minute hand that tortures
A set of wide and soulless eyes.
An hour hand that doesn't move at all.
Rituals and rites mark the odorous plumes of hours unseen.
An echoing scream amplifies the darkness.
The howl of sirens follow in the distance.
Hours of violence or depravity or sin or pleasure.
These are the hours set aside
For the ageless telling of tales
And the insomnia of music makers.
All the misery of graveyard hours
If for no other reason
Than the gravity of their six foot title.