Kevin Peterson is an Albany native and has been writing poetry since the age of 13. His work is observational and people-centric, ingrained with an unfaltering sense of humor and soaked in beer. He is the current host of Professor Java’s Wide Open Mic which takes place the second Monday of each month. He thoroughly enjoys the performative aspects of poetry and can be seen competing regularly at the Nitty Gritty slam the first and third Tuesday of the month at Valentine’s in Albany. He also loves writing brief bios about himself in third person.
The brand new edition of “Up the River”, a journal of poetry, art & photography by Albany Poets Press, is now available.
For the 16th year, Albany Poets is proud to present the Albany Word Fest celebrating the poetry and spoken word of upstate New York.
I arrive at my car exhausted, slightly nauseous, with bleary, bloodshot, tired eyes
The sun is a but a sliver just barely batting it’s morning lashes over the horizon
I put the keys in the ignition
start it up, do a U turn, drive fifteen feet, park the car and pass out within ten minutes
THIS IS WHAT ALTERNATE SIDE STREET PARKING DOES TO PEOPLE!
An army of mute zombies, half dressed in pajamas and overcoats,
stepping out into a frigid morning haze because beyond not paying the $55 dollar fine,
we don’t want to give the bitch who waits at the beginning of the block
at 6:59 every morning the satisfaction of punching us in to her little hand held computer.
Honestly, the amount of gratification this wench of a woman gets
from ruining the mornings of complete strangers is inhuman.
Who wakes up one day and thinks to themselves,
“What is the smallest amount of power that can go to your head
While my job requires me to wear a fluorescent vest and a silly cap?”
And I know what you’re thinking, that could also describe one of those construction flaggers
who flip the signs that say “Stop” and “Slow” on opposite sides,
but you know the difference between them and the people who dole out parking tickets?
The construction workers have souls!
They are saving peoples’ lives by preventing head on collisions.
The number of which, incidentally, could also be reduced by safely parking your car
and not having to move it at an ungodly hour whilst hung over.
The law doesn’t even make sense.
I don’t want to hear the argument that it’s for garbage collection or snow removal.
Garbage is one day a week and I don’t know about you,
but I’ve never seen a snowplow in August.
There is no reason for these stupid fucking signs to apply 365 days of the year.
I’m no conspiracy theorist, but the only reason I see to have alternate side parking
is so they can ticket the poor bastards that don’t get up in time to move,
they then presumably use that money to fund research
like focus groups consisting of the most bitter humans they can find
to help come up with newer rules and regulations
that will further piss off the average citizen,
what’s worse is they use this money to pay the people that enforce these unnecessary rules.
And It is this most viscous of cycles that begs the question:
Why do we have a profession that requires
little education, no tact, and zero ability to interact
with fellow human beings on an empathetic level.
Who wakes up one day and thinks to themselves,
“what’s a job I could get that will piss people off simply by my showing up in the morning?”
Really, how many times have you heard someone say,
“You know, that parking enforcement agent may have just ticketed me,
but he was a real nice guy about it.”
NEVER, no one ever says that, because the kind hearted parking enforcement agent,
like the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and the platypus is a myth.
Ladies and Gentleman, this is no rant
because I have been mildly inconvenienced one too many times, this is a call to arms!
The next time you see one of these cold heartless bastards printing out a parking ticket,
even if it’s not your car, you walk up to them and with all the strength you can muster
you hug them and you tell them everything is going to be okay
because I promise you, they were not loved enough as a child.
For weeks my friend encouraged me to sit in on a class he was taking
A sociology course entitled deviant behavior
promising me that I would find it interesting, enjoyable
I might even stand to learn a thing or two.
So one Friday morning
After a particularly long Thursday night out
This friend was my ride back to my car
And waking late as we did
He informed me I would have to go to school with him
If I wanted said ride, so having little choice I obliged,
Finally afforded the opportunity to observe in a classroom setting
kids that exemplify the very thing they are supposedly learning to identify. .
Now on this particular day, the teacher was absent
This being the case half of the class left immediately…
So things were going really well from the start.
Then the TA proceeded to read off black and white power point slides
That he promised he would post to the internet after the class was over,
should we somehow manage to ignore him completely.
It begs the question, was he so concerned with his short lived sense
Of professorial immortality that he cannot recognize power point as a risk for fatality
In the classroom environment? Or maybe that’s why he was perspiring.
Now of the half of the class that stayed,
None of them realize I’m not actually supposed to be there
Which is in and of itself a deviance, but that’s beside the point.
These kids were too engrossed in their own behaviors to notice
A pocket of bros in the corner
Trying to gross one another out with photos on their phone
Of 80 year old men fellating one another
And a photoshopped shot of Osama shot through the eye
With the ever clever caption “AMURICA, FUCK YEAH!”
…A girl that is perpetually updating her status
You cling to your laptop sweeti
Because you are nothing more than your Facebook profile
And anyone that tries to tell you otherwise is a liar
This entire group of my supposed peers spaced out on the internet
It occurred to me the greatest deviance would be
to actually give a shit about one’s own education.
Later, as the class neared conclusion
The first, most important, most impatient students
Began to pack their things earlier than expected
When, as they rose from their seats, the earth shook violently
The city waved like branches in the breeze,
Those standing dropped as autumn’s leaves
and the most incredible geysers of fire erupted into the sky.
Proper safety protocol was both forgotten and ignored,
washed away was the malaise from these students
that were so apathetic only moments before.
Now, rushing to action, they race for the door
attempting to prevent the inevitable.
While with deviant smiles and a gleam in our eyes
my friend and I stood idly by
wanting to watch their world burn.