Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 29 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
Life Arts    H4'ed 9/9/21

Passport photo followed by reflection

Message Gary Lindorff
Become a Fan
  (5 fans)

Take off your glasses

Don't smile

That's what they told me

When I had my passport photo taken

So I look like a drug smuggler

That's what they want

I look tired and pissed

And a little dangerous

If I was security at an airport

And I saw that face

I would take me aside for questioning


A person who looks like that

Might be hiding something


It's in my eyes

That I want to take down the government

Even more seriously

Why do you want me to look like that

On my passport?

Why don't you want me to look

Like I'm having a good day

A good life

Like I'm someone who believes

That we're really here to learn how to love?

Why do you want me to look like

I want to take your head off?

Hand me my glasses young man

Hand me my smile

Hand me my dignity

It's not your fault

It's no one's fault

We're just along for the ride

Only where are we going?


This poem came forth in one piece. No edits. It was just sitting there in the poem ready-room, waiting to be summoned for its mission - to draw attention to the joyless, loveless, soul-less system of ID-ing ourselves that we submit to, just to be able to (drive, travel, or work for a company or corporation) . . . In this poem (which on the surface, seems mostly humorous) I am shining a harsh light on my experience of having my passport photo taken at CVS. The young clerk was nice enough, but he stuck to the book: He actually said, "Don't smile." When I take my glasses off I am like a deer with glaucoma, if there is such a thing. Everything is blurry. (Very bad for the deer.) If I was in a big city I would feel extremely vulnerable without my glasses. (Which makes me feel bad for our homeless people, many of whom [due to natural aging, poor health, bad nutrition, lack of sleep etc.] are probably subsisting in a blurred universe! Hard to imagine what that would feel like, since even with perfect vision they are surrounded by risk and danger 24/7.) So the poem tracks the complex of emotions, or my rapidly darkening / deteriorating state of mind, that I can easily trace in my expression which that seemingly innocuous official snapshot brilliantly captures.

(Article changed on Sep 09, 2021 at 1:29 PM EDT)

Must Read 1   Well Said 1   Inspiring 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Gary Lindorff Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

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...)

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

We must be more than prophets -- a prose poem

Your conscience

Truth was everywhere

And there goes the neighborhood

Poet's Notebook: My poem, "What do I do about the mice: A pacifist's quandary" and comments

Total Recall

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend