Mike Cooper

If Worse Comes to Verse
Here's my letter concerning Robin Chotzinoff's "The Meter's Running," the March 23 story about Yellow Cab dispatcher John Wafer reading poetry over the cab radio:

If I Was Bukowski's Ghost

If I was Bukowski's ghost
I'd stroll into the dispatch office
and square off with that guy reading poetry over the cab radio.

Isn't it bad enough to have to scrounge the sleaziest parts of the city late nite to scrape enough dollars together for mere existence with nothing but a piece--

a shred--of hope that it won't be me getting greased tonight?
To shell out $80 a day (night)--at least--(keep the change, cabbie) to take home nickels and dimes--no guaranteed minimum wage--

thru the streets--swerve around the idiot geeks--dodge the fascist radar freeks to get to the address--no lights on, no answer at doorbell. Is this a set-up for robbery or murder? Eyes peeled--senses heightened, anticipating. Neither death nor cents.

Try for another one: vicious snarling roar--
lightning and thunder trigger finger anger octane millisecond boost--
"get the Robins Roost"

stumbling bumbling incoherent drunk: a bloated water balloon waiting to explode at both ends

"Hey--Bartender--You got this guy drunk as a skunk: he ain't goin to smell up my cab. You take him home yourself.

Yeah? Go right ahead and report me. FUCK YOU!" and a snappy middle finger salute and out the door.

And how many calls have I missed wasting my time on this garbage?
Then there's the poetic interlude: "hearts and flowers and tra-la-la."
"Love and turtle dove and Gosh! life is just one big happy carnival ride..."

Buddy, you better take off those rose-tinted glasses
before they become permanently embedded in your anal sphincter.
But then, maybe that's what you're begging for.

"OK," I say--ploddingly stalkin'--tossin' a few jabs--"Now look--don't take this personal or nothin, kid, but you jerked me from my freshly dug grave for this innocuous drivel?

Like--you're doin' this for me?--Please--don't do me any more favors.
Consider that the kind of poetry a cab driver likes is SILENCE.
--SILENCE--Sweet Blessed Silence
Give their souls some rest, will ya?

Don't torture them with airwaves embedded with your thorns of inept rhymes that frustrate and disgust, that leave their nerves frazzled and wracked, and their bodies bloody and shredded by the end of their shift--

any more so than usual."
Greg Tannenbaum, driver #209

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