I once worked for a bigoted narcissist.
His name was Kenny.
He worked out of a cavernous warehouse
On the east side of Baltimore.
I was a subcontractor.
Life was hard.
I couldn’t pick and choose
Who I worked for,
But with Kenny
Many is the time I almost drew the line
Out of a sense of self-respect.
It wouldn’t have surprised me
If he started sprouting little horns
Out of his forehead.
He would send us out on jobs,
Installing vinyl coated
Steel-shelving and mirrors,
Towel-rods, vanities etc.
He was a horrible person.
I wouldn’t want to repeat
His stories and racist jokes
Even in a poem.
I will just say that I only wish
I had called him out to his face
Before we parted ways.
I doubt he is still alive.
One day he let us go
Without notice
Because, I suppose,
He finally got wind
Of what we thought of him.
The way it happened was,
I had showed up at his office
Running a little late
And had advised the crew
That I would meet them at the job.
Kenny wasn’t around.
For some reason
He wasn’t in the warehouse.
Then I received a call from my partner
Letting me know
That we had all been fired.
The whole crew had gone home.
I loaded the truck
With six 36 X 42-inch mirrors
And ten uncut 12 foot lengths
Of steel shelving
And drove slowly home
With my heavy load
To the west side of Baltimore.
Shortly after that I moved to Vermont.
I still think about Kenny.
How painful it was
To be in his presence.
The worst part of my day
Was listening to him.
Stomaching his jokes,
Glimpsing how he thinks.
I have to live the rest of my life
Knowing that I tolerated him.
Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad
But there seems to be a correlation
Between that failing on my part
And the fact that someone
Who reminds me of Kenny
Is running my country.