One Poem by Marc Darnell


Stalled in a gray job,
wearing gray,
old enough for hair
with a bit of gray.
Some call you Bob
because 6 months ago there
was a maintenance guy named that
and you sort of look the same,
same glasses anyway,
both about 5 foot 8,
but you don’t correct them.

Gray faces in the halls,
all looking down
like this is how dim
life got hiding behind walls
not being sociable,
duster/scrubber/waxer clowns
where filth is so palpable,
and the restroom stalls
are a biohazard horror.

You should have gotten out more,
made clout connections–
it’s who you know, loser
your dad said once,
quiet guys end up at the bottom.
You are your actions–
flatter ’em,
make a stance,

but he was one to talk–
a mailman who walked
till leg cramps at night in bed,
and now he’s dead,
but you’ll be fine–
you’re here with other gray guys
with personalities you can’t define.
You see their eyes,
wandering and surrendered
like yours.

It’s not bad at the bottom–
make miserable friends and love them.
You all might be substandard,
but only fools are keeping score.


Marc Darnell is a facilities tech (fancy name for janitor) and online tutor in Omaha Nebraska, and has also been a phlebotomist, hotel supervisor, editorial assistant, farmhand, devout recluse, and incurable brooder. He has published poems in The Lyric, Rue Scribe, Verse, The Road Not Taken, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, and The Literary Nest, among others.

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