The Landlord

You’re rolling an American Spirit across from me,
as I sit with my legs crossed, reading Call of the Wild.
Not to impress you, but because Jack London
is paying rent on my heart this week.
I wanted to hear the voice of a dog in my head for awhile,
instead of the usual chatterbox that lives there
and doesn’t pay on time.
Jack and his wolves make for good tenants.
But I wonder how you would be?

There’s no smoking of course,
but you can play the music as loud as you like.
Out of respect for Jack and the boys
there is a strict policy on cats:
they will be eaten on sight.
You don’t look like a cat person to me, though.
Cat people smoke Marlboros.
You keep looking at me with your cigarette, and
I keep waiting for the smoke to tell me something.

Are you the sort that quits?
What do your hands look like
when you are holding a hammer?
Will you be an old man with a beard or clean-shaven?
Are you the type to get bloody in a fight?
Or does the thought of holding a baby
make your blood run cold?
What are your thoughts on red meat?
What about vegetables?

Do you navigate by numbers or instincts?
What can you tell me about the sea?
Will you confront me when we’re wrong?
Or will you sit in silence,
watching the TV until it is too late?
I hope you will forgive me for staring
at your face for so long.
You see I’m looking for a man
who can tell by the wind if a storm is coming in.
A man that doesn’t change with the forecast.

Buck and Soleks are howling now in my head,
as they run the frozen earth of the Alaskan wilderness.
Their call is a warning.
They remind me I had dreams of a boy
with eyes like a wild animal,
and I fear that your domestication will be the death of me.

You see there’s a bucket that sits
precariously on the top of my mouth.
Its contents slip and spill occasionally,
pouring  a kiss of salty, sweet brine
onto the pavements of New York.
But I don’t mind for my kiss to land on these streets,
until I find him,
I don’t mind the howling wolves
reminding me
of the man who will drink
the bucket dry.