Tom J. Mariani

Rookie (January 1948 / San Francisco, CA)

I Feel So Sub-Prime - Poem by Tom J. Mariani

My next-door neighbor is gone
Two small U-haul trucks
Were parked in their driveway
When I got home Friday

The guy that owned the house
Before them
Was an ass
First thing he did

When he and his wife
Moved in was to convert
Their two car garage to
A kick-boxing studio

Our garage faces the street
Their's faces our property
One day I got home from work
Walking up to my door

I glanced to my left
It seemed as if someone else
Was walking too
At just about my pace

Then like Lucy and Harpo
If you remember that TV scene
From 'I Love...' we both
Stopped and stared at each other

The entire back wall of his garage
Was a glass mirror
Like a ballet studio Glass!
Without the class

His studio had been downtown
In a commercial building
I had read the magnetic signs
On the sides of his SUV

Now his studio faced my front yard
Heavy bag hanging there
All the space was needed
Washer and dryer? ? ?

The had been hooked up
Outside for Christ's sake
Under a tacked-on lean-to
To keep the rain out

This was only the start
Of a rocky relationship
Street parking was taken
By his clients 4 to 11 PM daily

Thursdays were better
That was youth night
Parents dropped them off
Picked them up

But not the wrappings
Plastic botles aluminum cans
And all the other garbage
The left behind

Planning Board Zoning enforcement
Building Inspector Code enforcement
Public Safety Sanitation Department
All equally useless

So when they sold the house
I was thrilled to say the least
No more cars and ski-boat tailers
Parked on his lawn

I never noticed when
Our new neighbors
Moved in
They were very quiet

Never talked to or even saw him
Saw she and their child
Once or twice and waved
Then came the cars

Five or six parked regularly
Didn't take me long to figure out
This new building code violation
The studio had become a dorm

Their sudden move out
After about two years
Was a foreclosure
I checked the county records

The teaser rate non-verif' loan
Got them in got them out
Even with renters they couldn't
Cover the bump in rate + taxes insurnace

It makes me feel sad
I never got to know them
To talk about plans to remove
My two large old maples

That I knew dropped
As many leaves
On ther side
As it did ours

I have no control over
Negative amortization loans
Falling real estate values
I could have helped with the leaves


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Poem Submitted: Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Poem Edited: Monday, April 25, 2011


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