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A Poem for Plumbers
Tony Gruenewald

I am impotent
lost in the labyrinth
of plumbing that plagues
my existence. Pipe wrenches,
washers, teflon tape,
all rendered useless,
their inventions voided
by my uncouth hands.
For the god of domesticated
water mocks me or at best
does not consider my
petitions and prayers: valves forever
frozen open or shut, whichever
is least desirable, threads eternally
crossed or stripped, faucet leaks
reverberating like 3 a.m. thunder.
Ecstasy is:
the number of an honest
plumber; one whose sympathetic
touch can sooth the savage
sweat of my sickly
pipes and spigots
and whose smile
won’t seem patronizing
after reviewing the results
of my humiliating attempts
to perform an act
of plumbing.

This poem first appeared in Edison Literary Review.
Used here with the author’s permission.


Purchase a framed print of this poem.

Tony Gruenewald lives in New Jersey, where he works as production administrator for Learning Ally, the nation's largest library for accessible textbooks and educational material for people who are blind or visually impaired or have a print disability such as dyslexia. His collection, The Secret History of New Jersey, was published by Northwind in 2009. Tony's poems have been seen in Edison Literary Review, Mas Tequila Review, U.S. 1 Worksheets, English Journal, The New York Times, and Slow Trains. Learn more about him at 



Post New Comment:
Wilda Morris:
Sometimes an over-dose (our-pouring) of alliteration is just what a poem needs to be perfect - this is a good example of that!
Posted 01/20/2015 09:14 AM
It's amazing where a fascinating poem can spring from (pun intended). Well done.
Posted 01/17/2015 10:17 AM
Why do my hot and cold faucets both turn on inwards?
Posted 01/17/2015 08:38 AM
Ross Kightly:
Only those Admitted to the Inner Sanctum of Initiates Into the Mysteries of the Lead must ever try to do plumbing! As this marvellously true poem amply illustrates! Thanks to all concerned.
Posted 01/17/2015 03:06 AM

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