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Life Arts    H3'ed 9/11/21

One old guy to another -- A shadow poem

Message Gary Lindorff
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Setting: The back of a local breakfast spot

Surrounded by rural Vermont beauty.

I am standing, talking to a friend

By a picnic table

Where my wife and my friend's wife

Are talking,

When I see this old guy (roughly my age)

Coming from the parking lot

With his coffee

About to disappear

Around the side of the photogenic gift barn

That is covered by a mass

Of flowering trumpet vines.

On his sweatshirt

In big capital letters: USA.

Right then my consciousness splits

Right down the middle.

I am responding to my friend

Normally enough

That he doesn't seem to notice

That the other half of my attention

Is on that old man in the sweatshirt.

I want to go over and ask him,

Why?

Why are you advertising your country?

What do those 3 letters mean to you?!

But if I asked him and he responded,

Would I listen patiently? No,

Because I think I know what he would say

And I've heard it a million times before.

Or, does it even matter to him

What his sweatshirt says?!

Is he wearing it just because it's

On the cool side today?

Or because it's been washed so many times

He likes how it fits, loose and comfortable,

So who cares what it shouts?

Or is he just a typical old chauvinist?

I want to go over and tell him

That he just ruined my day!

Not simply because I am upset

By his cretin fashion statement,

There is more to it,

Much more.

I feel like a fish

Caught by the the hook of his nescient,

Misguided, ethnocentric / nationalistic,

One-tracked, simple-minded

Reactionary, retrogressive, probably sexist

Passively racist, passive-aggressive

Close-fisted, patriotic / chauvinistic . . .

(breathe)

In short, he is my shadow!

And because he is my shadow

I will be living with him in my head

For the next few days

Until I figure out what I am projecting on him

That makes him so powerful

That I have to write this really bad poem

About him

Walking from the parking lot

About to disappear

Around the side of the gift barn

That is covered by a mass

Of flowering trumpet vines . . .

(Article changed on Sep 11, 2021 at 9:09 AM EDT)

(Article changed on Sep 11, 2021 at 12:14 PM EDT)

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Gary Lindorff is a poet, writer, blogger and author of several nonfiction books, a collection of poetry, "Children to the Mountain" and a memoir, "Finding Myself in Time: Facing the Music" Over the last few years he has begun calling (more...)
 

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