Have you heard of Gus?
He’s a street cleaner, you see.
On the other side of town, where no one actually lives
Except crumbling houses and rusted mailboxes
And ghosts, if you believe in that kind of thing.
They must’ve stopped paying him years ago
When his job was no longer needed
‘Cause people were moving away from those parts
To the city, where creativity is a corpse under pavement.
So Gus works alone on the streets,
Sometimes I see him if I pass through the park.
Just cleaning away without a care in the world,
His companions a broom, clippers, a bucket, a sponge,
Whistling old folk songs to himself
As he sweeps up the sidewalks and pulls all the weeds,
Tames the wild lawns that nobody owns,
And cleans the windows with every ounce of his being,
Looking in, and never looking out.
And sometimes he just stands there, staring
At his reflection in the sparkling glass
Just adjusts his rugged uniform, 20 years out of date, sometimes picks at his teeth
Sometimes I wonder why he does what he does,
It makes me angry to see him waste away his days
It’s like a symphony played to deaf ears
Or a sonnet written to the blind
It’s like rain on a parking lot,
It’s not helping anything to grow.
It’s just there, just there, nothing more.
I want to yell to him, to tell him to get a real job
To just trash that uniform, the supplies, just move on.
But still he remains, his whistling breaking
The silence of a street left to rot.