Wednesday, January 19, 2011

poem of the day 01.19.11

kind of deranged

the bald man
the one with the crown
of porcupine hair
going around the edges of his scalp
keeps trying to reach
for every woman
walking along the slippery
plank floor of the morning bus
you cannot tell
if he is trying to help these women
is it kindness
or a form of derangement?
the women cannot tell either
he looks normal
is carrying a briefcase
and keeps checking his watch
as if late for an appointment
he has good shoes on, too
most of the women ignore this man
some of them wave him off angrily
others smile and shake their heads
they are fine
they do not need his help
the man pulls his hand away
at each refusal
and shakes it at each woman
maybe he is apologizing
sorry to have woken these women
out of their insular shells
on this rainy and snowy morning
sorry for his act of chivalry
to have been construed as somehow wrong
perhaps he is trying to say something suggestive
or telling them all to go to hell
it is hard to tell these days
what rests in everyone’s gut
or who the kind souls are
from the deranged ones
one almost worries
that we’ll end up patting the back
of the mass murder
giving him the key to the city
or erecting a plaque to his name
on the village green
while locking up the kind fool
for harassment and errant behavior
the one who’s just trying to help an old lady
cross a busy street
or stop someone from slipping
in the wet slop
caught in the grooves of
a rubber bus floor.

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