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By Roberta Curley

My neighbors start crawling around 5 a.m.—
both possess two feet
equivalent to four noisemakers
totaling eight ballbreakers (with shoes)

intergalactic attack-drones set my eardrums afire
no intelligent life form would create such mire

now I comprehend what ‘rude awakening’ means
plus I’m plagued by shattered dreams

thumps clumps bumps—
even squeaks and creaks
circulate in cacophonous fashion
each seemingly diffused with passion

they hop and jump like crickets
in both dawn and dusk-lit hues
nearly peeling my seams unglued

my therapist says their pre-dawn racket
could land me in a straightjacket

if these prancers are vying for
the ‘Nudnick Neighbor’s Nobel Prize’
they win my vote—
their MRI-like banging cinches my throat

six a.m.—upper apartment door SLAMS
two clomping horses fly down stairs
their motion whooshes air through my peephole
I grunt in despair

milliseconds later, the vestibule door RAMS
the street door WHAMS
—feels like I’ve been through a carwash—
with windows open

so today I internet-order three industrial-strength white-noise machines
(this is Manhattan)—soothing bird-call and lapping-wave contraptions
won’t make a dent in the din

my neighbors (and I) traverse life in a shoddily constructed 1820’s
Federal style apartment building—their ‘mayhem’ bears no malice—
if I could travel back in time, I’d give the builder what’s left of my mind

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