The Struggle of Endless Toiling

In the Company of Water Heaters
by Ryan Hardgrove

Sitting in front of this same old desk
another new place
shoveled down into the basement this time
the water heater already crowding me
and the furnace guffawing regularly
not to mention
the lonely toilet leering
at me from across the room
as I toil endlessly
behind the typer
trying desperately as always
to get it all down
before something slips
like the time
or my inability to deal with hunger
or lack of nicotine

she’s upstairs showering
or cleaning
or accomplishing some other task
with the grace and care and efficiency
I still marvel at daily
while I
sit in front of the typer
staring at the same blinking cursor
hammering keys
trying to make points
and observations
and struggling so pitifully
to do so

there is no pity
or struggle
when it comes to the way
she paints her nails
or washes her hair
or sweeps the kitchen

style, she radiates it

while I sit alone down here
waiting for some epiphany
to land in my lap
hoping this mug of coffee
can somehow save me

is love so inadequate
that I must banish myself
to the confines of this cement dungeon
in order to fulfill
my selfish and neurotic needs

or am I down here
because it is the only way
to consistently perceive
how lucky I really am


Ryan Hardgrove is currently wading through his late twenties as a feckless bartender and responsible father. He is also a writer and a musician. He lives in Pittsburgh, PA with his common law wife and their son.


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I am a dreamer, as well as a doer, who lives in the North Georgia mountains. I started my publishing journey August of 2013, have had moderate success, but my utmost passion is my "daytime" job, which is working with adults who are constantly striving to better their lives as they obtain the GED credential.

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