Verse > Anthologies > Harriet Monroe, ed. > Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1912–22
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Harriet Monroe, ed. (1860–1936).  Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.  1912–22.
 
Drug Store
By John V. A. Weaver
 
PARDON me, lady, but I wanta ast you,
For God’s sake, stop that tappin’! I’ll go nuts,
Plain bug-house if I hear that tap-tap-tap
Much longer!
            Now I went and used such language,
I got to tell you why…. Well, in the first place,        5
My business is all shot. Now drugs theirselves
Don’t pay much, and the extra stuff, like candy,
Cigars and stationery and et cetery,
Don’t make their keep. And that damn soda-fountain—
Excuse me, lady, but I just can’t help it!….        10
 
Some day I’m gointa catch the guy I bought it off—
I’m losin’ money every day it’s here.
And soda-jerkers—now I can’t get none
For love or money, so myself I got to
Mess with them malted milks, banana splits,        15
And slop like that. And just as doggone sure
As I start workin’ on some fine prescription,
The kind I love to mix—got to be careful,
The weights is hittin’ on that perfect balance—
Why, then some fool wants a marshmallow sundae,        20
And tap-tap-tap he starts in on the show-case,
And taps and taps till I come runnin’ out,
Leavin’ the drugs half-done.
                    And that ain’t all;
Here’s the big trouble—I can’t talk good grammar.
People don’t think a man that mixes drugs        25
Can do it right and talk the way I do.
It makes me sick—why have I got to sound
Like a school-teacher? Why, I know my stuff:
“Registered Pharmacist”—see? I taught myself,
Workin’ at night whiles I was four years clerkin’;        30
And then I took three months down at the U,
And passed a fine exam. But here’s the thing:
I quit the public school in seventh grade,
And never paid no attention to my talk.
So it’s the way I tell you—they’re suspicious        35
Because I use such slang. I try to stop,
But it’s too late now. I found out too late….
 
I got a dream of what I’ll do some day:
I want to quit this drug stuff altogether,
Have a nice office, with a big oak desk,        40
And sell just real estate. I’d like to bet
I’d make a clean-up at it. It’d be swell,
That office….
                But this life is killin’ me.
It’s the fool questions they keep askin’ me!
You see that clock there? Well, just on a guess        45
Three times an hour some silly fish comes in here
And calls me out, and asts me, “Is that right?—
Is your clock right?” Honest to Heaven, lady,
One day I got so sore I took a hammer
And smashed the face in. And it cost twelve dollars        50
To fix it. But I had peace for a week.
Oh, gosh, my nerves!…. But that’s the way it is.
I’m sorry I spoke so rough about that tappin’,
But when I get to sellin’ real estate,
They’ll be no place where folks can take a coin        55
And tap, and tap, till I come runnin’ out.
That’s a man’s business!….
                        If I ever get it….
 
 
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