The Poetry of
Jack Scott

The Alien Fleet of Feet

On a sluggish morning
sluggish feet on sidewalks
cannot compete with joggers,
alien fleet of feet
whose engines purr on starting
like models of the newest cars.

No rest for the jealous,
but taken anyway .
I’ll stay sleeping in
while the rest are stepping out.

Moving on to greater things
I, too, have business to attend
like when will the toast be done
and where’s the marmalade.
You know how I like my coffee,
We’ve been through this before.
I like to wake up softly,
build up my tolerance
to face the goddamned day ahead.

Yes, I know I have to get a job.
Yes, it’s your job to remind me,
but in the time spent nagging,
you could go out and get one.

The business of remaining home,
is quietly satisfying, simplicity itself,
textured like an unironed sheet,
its memories still in it.
Beyond my padded castle
when the muted tide
has ebbed away
and petered out into the sand
of midday silence
out of my mind
at higher volume somewhere,
but my radio’s turned off.
The others, (Them!)
that pirate fleet upon the sea
windblown by riffling Fortune pages,
when time has come for them
to shift their weight upon the other leg
and set sail for home upon the evening tide
upon the good ship Metaphor.

The rising tide of commerce
that swelled our street in morning
now flows the other way
at first a sluggish stream.
They first return in trickles, like incontinence,
which soon swells into torrents,
then floods with horns and beeps,
raucous conversation, requisite obscenity.
Have they no consideration?

Footfalls follow home their feet,
echoes being equal,
the daily homeless build their nests,
nightly drag themselves to it,
home heavy with relief
and sense of underpaid deserving
(satisfaction is a periodic perk)
bringing bacon and its gravy,
mutely crazy, never daring
to risk an honest dialogue.
Honey, I’m home. A martini, please.

Bolton Street fills up once
with liquid anxiety.

We also serve who stay at home.

Fireflies with folded wings count down
until it’s safe to say good night.
L49 ®Copyright 1974 Jack Scott. All rights reserved.