Micki Myers

      I had a dream once I went to work late. I found somebody else
      on the machine.
He messed up the hearts. The boss blamed me
      for it. I was so upset. Then I woke up.
You have to know what
      you're doing. You have to know how to adjust the machine.

            --Tony Santos, 27
The candy heart maker
works sixteen hours a day.
He reads the red endearments to himself
under the roar of the machine.
HOW R U? he asks no-one. DIAL MY #.
When the hearts turn him down,
bob on past to the next pair of greasy hands,
he shakes his head NO WAY.
At night he changes light bulbs
in an office building downtown.
He whispers sweet nothings to them
when no-one else can hear--
      SAY YES
      TELL ME
      ON FIRE
You can hear him at the bar,
his hands clasped tight
around a beer--
      ALL RIGHT!
      GOT CHA
      SO FINE
He takes them home to his girl,
but they're not free.
Three for a buck,
and still they make him pay.
      SAY NO
      YOU BET
      GO AWAY
After dinner, her face
folds itself into a fist
when he pulls a pack from his pocket,
tying to make conversation
before clearing the dishes away.
Two years and nothing seems to change.
He's so tired he can’t think of anything to say.
On the way out she asks him
if she's more than just his Sweetheart,
and he says
      I HOPE
      BE MINE
When he looks up
his TRUE LOVE's gone
and there’s no-one but himself
to break the silence.
He wants to tell her
how much he loves her
but can't adjust the machine.