Do you know this struggle?
No one said it’d be easy choosing your writing dreams. I’m not saying it isn’t worth it. But sometimes we just have to tip the hat to our situation, right?
So here’s my tip of the hat to my crappy apartment. The cheap rent means I eat well and still have time for writing.
It’s a parody of the epic Ode On A Grecian Urn by John Keats. With roaches. And hobos.
Ready? Okay, let’s go.
Ode To My Crappy Apartment
Oh apartment, thou cheap and shitty hut
That guards against the night, no not at all;
The duty for thine care I must rebut,
No fucks I give, for I’m not liable;
No trust! And no homeowner’s loan to kill
Capricious whims to move abroad, for thou
Are rented month-to-month, and I can flee
The lease and musty stench without a bill.
And when I leave for San Fran for a day,
I worry not what might be stole from me.
The roaches may descend from open vent,
And fall into my hair; there’s no escape
While glued to toilet (poor resident!),
That’s why the vents are masked with painter’s tape;
From dreams I wake at night to water sounds
Of hobos ‘neath my window at the tap,
And to their clatt’ring carts and bottle-clink
While to each dumpster they do make their rounds,
Collecting glass and pop can scrap to swap
For cash. (Just call it free recycling!)
Thou art small, shack. And make no room for it—
That game of Jones’—which needs great storage space
For signs of wealth, like car or boat or kid;
I have no space to prove the rat race chase,
And so instead I chase my preference
For fam’ly, food, and writing dreams. Yet true
That sometimes I don’t know if distant blast
Is gunfire or kids with fireworks;
Small solace then that dust cannot accrue
Where space for junk is anything but vast.
True that the shower once exploded, yay,
And blasted mildew from the walls, which had
Collected there in spots of mauve and gray
From lack of ventilating ceiling fan.
But amnesty thou earn when rent is due
And when the call to maint’nance was a cinch,
For maint’nance men arrived lickety-split
And fixed the blast that found the pipe cut through;
Yet paid no plumber, I, nor hired wrench
Tis’ cause to love thee, aye, and faults acquit.
So, yes, thou may be small enough to clean
In single day. (I never do. Too grand!)
But note the laundry racks, no room between
For me to stand. And dishes? All by hand.
Yet still I stay in this apartment mine.
While zeroes on rent checks remain so few,
And I refuse to plumb or saw or pitch,
Cause I prefer a steak and pricey wine
To human bondage. Want your freedom too?
Then rent. Cause you know owning is a bitch.