Old Dogs

ATROPHY


I turned
my back
and left them there
for sixty bucks
in cash

I had know them
and their kind
for more than a decade
but felt no compunction
toward the exchange

they were a part
of my past
now useless
to me

I stood outside
squinting in the sun
not at all sure
of my next move
since without
the tools of my trade
I had no real
vocational identity

I was no more
a technician
than a ballet
dancer

those instruments
of electronic endeavor
were the last
vestiges
of my chosen
career path

I sniffed
the clean bills
and considered
my future

I hadn't
received a paycheck
for practicing my trade
in over a year
and except
for some minor tinkering
with stereos and VCRs
I had done very little
in the way of amateur
undertakings
it seemed
that my captivation
with the wizardry
of electricity
was dead
after years
of gasping
on life support

I knew that
I would have to find
new employment possibilities
in the very near future
and relegate myself
to start once again
at the bottom
of the working pit
to renew the climb
toward the daylight
of escape
with the added
disadvantage
of a few more years
of weight
clinging desperately
to my back

If pawn shops
could only attach
some vague value
to the tools
still stored in my mind
I would gladly trade all
of that questionable knowledge
for a better coin
of a higher realm
but without use
no value exists
so I'll have to filter
the lurking information
for more utilitarian
applications
such as
ditch digging
dish washing
broom pushing
or simply just
toeing the line

maybe
I'll finally
walk away
from that sucking hole
and refuse to participate
choosing instead
to live in the daylight
without commitment
or pretense
of guilt

come on up
sometime
there's plenty of room
out here on the plain
and even if
there's no security
in the exposure
at least everyone
whom you know
will look
away