joe’s shoe shop

the shop with it’s 80’s orange carpet

i thought i would be in italy, but found myself in a retirement home.

dirty and dingy

like a piecemeal box

i wasn’t sure about the other room

i wanted it cleaned

and should i even mention the

how the toilet was in a closet and had mold on the waterline

he used it, but didn’t clean it

the work bench had all sorts of holes in it

pock marked

covered in glue

like a road with pot holes

only worse

because it wasn’t wood, but it was carpeted

and it all fit

like a maze

and i liked how forward the machine was

it wasn’t italy

it was provo

and i should have known that

even with all the cassettes from a forgotten era


it was pretty just like he was

you know how old peple can be pretty

it’s like watching death about to happen

like a wounded animal

with that fear in his eyes

except this old man and his shop were quite calm

but still had that fire burning in his eyes

although it was at a distance

and the shop was an extension of the man

it’s hands were as old as his if i could only pick them out

was it the leather cutter

or the sewing machine that were his hands

i was scared to take over the shop

i never went to vietnam

i don’t know how to build anyting

let alone fix it

they were like his friends

he had known them so long

and you felt bad for the guy

and why did he use cheap green foam from a craft store to repair a black loafer

i expected him to import the foam

but foam is foam

isn’t it

polishing was a cinch

and i asked if there should be any ventilation for the dye

he didn’t care about dying fumes he was much too old for that

i found a video of him online

he looked younger then

or maybe it’s because his wife wasn’t dying

i didn’t want to see the shop die

i didn’t want to see the nostalgia pass out

and never revive

it would be like watching the pisa finally fall over and do nothing about it

just watch it

but i didn’t want to be inside the building when it fell

as much as i liked it standing

and the front room was so empty

a symbol of youth

like an arm that had atrophied

become useless by unuse

when we talked about interesting things

i told him it was either this or an organic farm in seattle

and i peeled glue off the counter

while he talked

he fixed a man’s wallet for free

you can’t get help like that at any chain store

i think there’s a reason they call it a chain store

there’s restrictions

i don’t think it has anything to do with it being connected to others

i wasn’t expecting so many fumes

the dye, the glue especially

it all welled up and made me wonder if that was why he was having trouble digesting things

he said that you know

he said that because i said i wanted to own an organic farm