Daily Archives: August 20, 2003

Declining an RSVP

We have killed two decades with our lives;
Clocks and pocket-watches, notebooks and meetings
have spoken to us in the language of Ur,
a Babylonian-Chaldean moonmist frenzy of words
and tired metaphors.

In twenty years you’d think I might’ve found
some calling, or at least a claim to fame,
instead of still wide-eyed, casting around
without reknown or fortune to my name.

But life is how it happens, more or less;
the roads you travel lead to different ends.
To me, the truest measure of success
is measured not by wealth, but by your friends.

Now, I have made acquaintances and lost
their names and numbers; others I forgot;
for memories too accumulate a cost,
and keeping all means more space must be bought.

It’s not as if I don’t have extra cash to spend
(though extra is a matter of degree)
but rather that I try to live now, not depend
on sentimental hopes or history.

Right now, they’re meeting in some suite —
those people that were my old high school mates —
and rather than by their standards admit defeat,
I choose the world that is, and trust my fate.

For what is it they want, some way to reminisce
while failing to acknowledge things have changed?
That window to the world that no longer exists,
and peering through that dark glass seems so strange.

I cannot walk a backward way, and seem to not have grown;
the world from where I came holds me no more.
Besides, in this new place I am not here alone,
but have a life that is worth staying for.

20 AUG 2003

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Of the People

They call themselves Republicans or Democrats
and formerly, styled themselves Whigs or Tories;
but it doesn’t take imagination to figure that
they bend like willows in the wind, and change their stories

to suit the temper of times, and fan or tamp the fire
depending on their own design, as suits their own desire.
They claim to represent the people and to do their will;

I am their people, yet they only know my name
from voter registration, or my letters ‘gainst some bill
that a staffer reads and replies to, a thousand just the same.

Constituents, a power base, a funding source to woo –
the mayor, judge or congressman sees there in me and you.
Do they share our neighborhoods, our streets and public schools,

Or with their lawyer’s salaries, shop the same thrift shops?
With diplomat’s immunity, must they play by our rules,
or are the ones that make the law beyond where the buck stops?

There is a line that even diehard populists don’t cross,
that separates the gleaned wheat from the useless dross.
I get their vain pronouncements by the post at intervals,

assuring me that they are on my side, though they can’t know it;
none have walked in my garden, nor will they take my calls —
if they are of my kind, they have a strange way to show it.

And worse, their people call and have the nerve to flub my name,
then pass it off as ignorance; I listen, just the same
Whether they claim to be the Greens, or Independent men,

for I know that behind the voice their stripe is all the same
dependent on my interest and the dollars I can spend
and quick to point the finger back to me and place the blame.

What’s worse, they rarely bother to ask what I’d have them do —
so I am left misrepresented, just like most of you.

20 AUG 2003

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