Saturday, July 29, 2017

In Black And White

Shuffling, scuffling down the aisle
To one of the small meeting rooms
Where one of the dads or moms
Suggested we do unto others,
Remember please and thank you
Always look someone in the eye.

We’d sit, watching the clock
Wondering what we might order
At the restaurant for Sunday dinner.
Sometimes we’d go to the Carolina Inn
Where the line stretched around the hotel
Out into the parking lot back toward campus.

After the meal, we gathered in the lobby
Fueled by fresh carbs and sugar:
A gang of fifth grade delinquents
determined to make noise and laughter.
Havoc reigned until one of the elders, most
Likely the one with the worst hangover,
Put a stop to the madness.

Usually, the parent would ask with a sour expression
if we’d learned anything in Sunday School.
And, obviously, we didn’t.
Again, we’d be reminded about
The wide gap between wrong and right.

We’d stare at our shoes until the rant
Was finished, and as we all went our separate
Ways, back to our family units, sometimes
We’d share a final snicker, rebels forever.

No surprise we became a pack of fools
Mindlessly scanning what’s ahead;
Our collective nose buried in 4G
Sharing askew selfies as if they were truths.
Centers of our own attention, cloaked in
Jim Carrey/Copernicus masks.

And yet, sometimes thoughts drift back.
Is it wrong or right.
How can we make it clear,
Put it all in black and white?

For a moment we engage,
Probably from guilt we can’t fathom.
But then, we dart away
Skimming the surface,
Posing, playing the game
So much taking without giving.

We enable those indulgent choices.
Never make a ripple.
Let it go, let it slide.
Nature will handle it,
Absolution at high tide.

As if gravity had a firm
grip on compassion and
one day it might let go.

We circle the wagons
Around special interests
Doling out favors and hate.
It might be borders,
Secret prisons or guns,
Clean air, water rights
Even healthy food.

Everyone keeps looking for a deal.
Cutting class or corners,
Cheap thrills in dismal motels
With strangers that once were friends.
I got mine, we insist; then we wonder
Why we’re never at ease.

Sometimes thoughts drift ahead.
Is there a way to make it right?
Can we make it clear,
Put it all in black and white?

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