Snarky Ignorance

Snarky Ignorance

4:oo am eggs and coffee and out the door Junior the shoeshine man age sixty-five walks from Amsterdam Avenue to Lexington Avenue and catches the #4 to Grand Central Station his box concealed in a backpack along with expertise in handling Balmorals, Blüchurs, Cap Toes and Wingtips

locating the subtle depression his box has made in the marble floor over the years he settles in the new snot-nose regular waiting for him

“you’re late Junior” from behind The Wall Street Journal hiding a smirk like a teacher who secretly enjoys issuing detention slips

subway ain’t what it used to be Junior remarks to the headlines maybe we need Mussolini in this city make them run on time

who? Junior smiles and shakes his head

11:00 am brunch and white wine and margaritas Domingo the waiter hurriedly bussing the alfresco table for trust-fund hipsters chatting about organic berries and quoting lines from Hamilton

“hey you just forget it you’re taking too long we’ll sit inside”

9:00 pm after his triple shift Domingo walks from Columbus Avenue to Central Park West and catches the A train down to West 4th Street walks over to the Lower East Side a new art gallery opening where his paintings are are being displayed across the room Domingo hears

“I absolutely must have this! it’s post-postmodern a bit of kitch and yet authentic social critique subversive executed as high art I absolutely must have this!

it is the new Eurotrash Domingo served at brunch earlier he walks over to the small crowd now standing in front of his painting to the loudest Eurotrash he says graciously I couldn’t help but hear you admiring my painting, for you $1000 I’ll take a check

“you painting this?” yes Domingo replies with a smile “bullshit” after the stunned silence a voice in the back of the crowd bellows

if that loser doesn’t want it-I’ll take it who do I make the check out to?

you’re late Junior he says to the shoeshine man feigning perkiness like the teacher who secretly enjoys giving detention 

The New York Times hides a smirk from the shoeshine man authentic malice

James Kowalczyk

James Kowalczyk was born and raised in Brooklyn but now lives in Northern California with his wife, two daughters, four cats and over a dozen fish. His work has appeared in print as well as online in numerous publications including: The Stray Branch, Down in the Dirt, The Siren's Call, Terror House, Main Street Rag, Heavy Hands, First Leaves, and Blink-Ink.    


  1. Right on the money. The perfect poem. And great art.

  2. I like a well written poem with a story and a recognizable place. Very well written!

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