I wrote the poem "Plastic Bags and Coated Leashes" in a poetry workshop class with David Lehman during my graduate work at the New School. I don't remember what the assignment was but I've always loved this poem. The best part was that David wrote, "Brilliant!" on it. I don't think I'll ever forget that; therefore I'll always feel good about this poem. I had to add it to my book, even though it's older than the rest of the poems in the collection. I think there are only two other poems in the book that are older. Anyway, it takes place in a small drycleaners. I worked at a drycleaners my last two years of high school and the first two years I was in college. On Saturdays I would work by myself in a small drycleaners in an upper-middle-class to rich town in northern Bergen County, New Jersey. Most of the houses in this town were mansions, so you can just imagine the people that were customers. And you also can imagine the things I found in people's pockets, ranging from a used condom to money to a twenty bag of cocaine. And once Andrew Dice Clay come into the cleaners because he and his family had recently moved to the area. The best part was that I was listening to Sinead O'Connor when I saw him coming toward the store. I ran to the boom box and shut it off. Considering she refused to perform on Saturday Night Live when he was the host, I figured it probably wasn't a good idea to leave her music playing. He came behind the counter to grab his clothes off the spinning rack. It was very strange, but he was very nice. I liked his wife; she came in more often. Typically I had been out all night at the nightclub The Tunnel the previous evening so I would be working on one or two hours of sleep, if that. It was bad, but I always made it to work.
"I say WAR!"